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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Totti banned for spitting
Italy's Francesco Totti
Totti was tight-lipped after leaving the hearing
Italy's Francesco Totti has been banned for three games by Uefa after spitting at Denmark's Christian Poulsen.

Totti will miss his side's next two Group C matches against Sweden and Bulgaria as well as the quarter-finals should the Italians qualify.

The 27-year-old was charged with gross unsporting misconduct after the incident during Italy's 0-0 draw with Denmark on Monday.

"We won't tolerate this kind of behaviour," said a Uefa spokesman.

I give a full public apology
Francesco Totti
Given the opportunity to explain his actions during the three-hour hearing in Lisbon's Hotel Meridien, Totti admitted the offence.

"I am very distraught at what has happened," he said.

"I don't recognise myself from the images that were shown.

"I give a full public apology and I would like to make it clear that the true Francesco Totti is not the one on the video."

Italy have been given 24 hours to appeal against the decision.

Totti, who was booked in injury time for a high tackle on Danish defender Rene Henriksen, left the hearing without comment.

The Danish Football Association made an official complaint to Uefa after images of the incident were picked up by Danish television and had originally pushed for a four-match suspension.

Italy brought in top lawyers Giulia Bongiornand Mario Gallavottito to defend Totti, arguing that the player had been provoked by Poulsen.

But Uefa's six-man disciplinary committee - led by Spain's Joseph Louis Vilaseca - found Totti guilty.

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni is expected to move Alessandro Del Piero into Totti's role and promote Roma youngster Antonio Cassano into the starting line-up as a striker alongside Christian Vieri.

In November, Lazio's Sinisa Mihajlovic was suspended for eight matches by Uefa's disciplinary committee after being sent off against Chelsea in a Champions League match.

He spat at and kicked Chelsea players during his side's 4-0 home defeat and was also guilty of "improper conduct" towards a Uefa official.

The spitting incident had echoes of the ugly clash at the 1990 World Cup between Dutch midfielder Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Voeller of Germany.

Rijkaard spat at Voeller as he ran past the German striker and the two became embroiled in an altercation which ended with both being sent off.





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