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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Frei given 15-day ban
Switzerland striker Alexander Frei
Switzerland's Alexander Frei has been provisionally suspended by Uefa for 15 days pending an appeal for allegedly spitting at England's Steven Gerrard.

The striker had been pulled out of the Swiss team hours before Monday's Euro 2004 game against France.

The suspension had been put in place pending an official hearing, which will be held in July now Switzerland have gone out of the competition.

Uefa wants Frei to get a five-match ban, an official told Swiss television.

On Thursday, Italy's Francesco Totti received a three-game ban for spitting.

A Uefa statement added: "Should Switzerland fail to qualify the hearing will take place back in Nyon, Switzerland in July after the end of Euro 2004."

Frei had been cleared of wrongdoing by Uefa's disciplinary body on Sunday, after TV footage proved inconclusive.

But Swiss channel SF DRS has provided new pictures which appear to show Frei did spit at Gerrard.

Statements had been taken from Frei and Gerrard, as well as England captain David Beckham - but the Football Association had not complained about the incident.

A Uefa spokesman revealed that the new video evidence had prompted European football's governing body to seek to overturn Sunday's decision.

"In his appeal, the Uefa disciplinary inspector requests that Frei should be suspended provisionally for today's vital Group B match against France," the spokesman said.

Frei was asked twice by federation officials on Saturday if he had spat and both times he had denied it, Swiss officials told a news conference.

"Like anyone else Frei was presumed innocent until he was proved guilty," Swiss federation president Ralph Zloczower said.

"The Swiss football federation can't stand for such behaviour -- in the footage we can clearly see a player of our national team spitting at another player.

"We can't tolerate that."

The move comes as a major setback for Frei, who believed he had cleared his name following the controversial incident in last Thursday's 3-0 defeat to England.

Frei had denied spitting, insisting: "I'm an emotional player and no angel, but this is not in my character.

"Maybe I said some bad words, but that's normal on the pitch."

Links to more Switzerland stories



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