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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Kewell escapes ban for ref insult
Harry Kewell has words with referee Markus Merk
Kewell admitted after the game that he regretted his actions
Harry Kewell has been cleared to play in Australia's last Group F match against Croatia after escaping a ban for insulting referee Markus Merk.

The Liverpool winger was reported for swearing at the German official after the Socceroos' 2-0 defeat by Brazil.

However, Fifa will not suspend Kewell because of the inconsistent nature of Merk's report, according to communications director Markus Siegler.

Australia need a point against Croatia to qualify for the knock-out stages.

He knows there's no harm meant by it

Harry Kewell

Kewell said afterward his exchange with Merk was "just the heat of the moment stuff", while Australian team officials said later that he regretted the on-field outburst.

Merk awarded 25 free-kicks to Brazil, while Australia won only nine but Kewell said: "You're frustrated, you're losing the game, every referee puts up with it.

"I mean, it's part and parcel of the game. He knows there's no harm meant by it. He understands that, that's the way it is.

"It was a hard match to referee and he did a good job."

Following the decision, Football Federation Australia chief executive, John O'Neill, said: "The FFA and Harry Kewell are very appreciative of FIFA's careful consideration of our submission and are pleased that no action will be taken in relation to this incident."

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