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Maradona banned for lewd outburst

Diego Maradona
Maradona's outburst was broadcast live on television

Argentina coach Diego Maradona has been banned from football for two months by Fifa for his furious outburst after last month's victory over Uruguay.

Maradona, under pressure in the run-up to the match, directed an expletive-laden tirade, broadcast on live TV, at reporters and critics after the game.

The 1-0 win ensured Argentina qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The ban will run from 15 November to 15 January 2010, which means he will miss the World Cup draw on 4 December.

He could also miss a home international friendly against the Czech Republic scheduled for 16 December at a so-far unspecified venue, though his role as coach at the World Cup will not be affected.

Maradona, who attended the three-hour disciplinary committee hearing in Zurich, was also fined £15,000.

606: DEBATE
RFPC

In a statement, Fifa said they had taken into consideration the "sincere remorse" shown by the Argentina head coach, who had flown from Madrid to Zurich after Argentina's 2-1 friendly loss to Spain on Saturday.

But football's governing body warned that a repetition of a similar incident would result in stronger sanctions being imposed in the future.

Fifa had the authority to ban Maradona until after the World Cup quarter-finals, but the 49-year-old was deemed to have breached Article 57 relating to "offensive gestures or language" rather than Article 58, which carries a mandatory five-match stadium ban.

Following Maradona's outburst, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said there was "no alternative" but to ask the governing body's disciplinary committee to open a case.

Maradona, who as a player helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup, had been under pressure in the build-up to the Uruguay match.

Defeats against Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Paraguay had seriously undermined Argentina's attempts to qualify for South Africa.

Critics questioned Maradona's team selection, with 70 players called up for duty in 14 matches.

And his 13-month tenure has been marked by clashes with players, coaches, journalists and directors.

Less than a week after he took over from Alfio Basile, who resigned in October 2008, there was speculation Maradona would quit following the Argentina Football Association's (AFA) refusal to appoint former captain Oscar Ruggeri as assistant coach.

And influential playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme retired from the international scene, announcing he and the head coach did not live by "the same codes".

Maradona also upset 1986 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo.

It was envisaged that Bilardo, the AFA's technical director of national teams, would offer support to the inexperienced coach, but Maradona instead said the veteran should "stay up in the directors' box in suit and tie".

Diego Maradona

Maradona's World Cup highlights

As a player, Maradona produced a series of stellar displays to guide Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and then helped them reach the final, which they lost to Germany, four years later.

But his time as coach has included a 6-1 defeat in Bolivia and a 3-1 home loss to Brazil.

Going into the final two qualifying matches, a poll showed that the majority of Argentina fans thought Maradona was unfit to coach the national team.

But Argentina won both games to book their ticket to South Africa.



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see also
Win seals Argentina qualification
15 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Maradona under pressure
09 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals


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