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BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
reports on Fifa's decision
 real 14k

Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Date set for Hendry decision
Albani appeared to be unconscious at the time
Albani appeared to be unconscious at the time
Scotland skipper Colin Hendry will know by the end of the month if he is to receive a lengthy ban from international football.

Fifa has set aside 26 April as the likely date for a ruling on whether Hendry is to be banned for elbowing San Marino's Nicola Albani in the throat during last week's World Cup qualifier at Hampden.

And there is speculation that the Bolton Wanderers defender will be left out of the Scotland squad to play a friendly in Poland the day before the decision is taken.

Fifa confirmed that an inquiry into the incident had been launched and the Scottish Football Association would be officially notified on Monday.

A spokesman said: "The disciplinary committee is to deal with this and meets on 26 April.


I am not a villain, a thug or a criminal
  Colin Hendry
"It will be at least discussed on that date. It is most possible video evidence will be involved."

The incident was not detailed by referee Petteri Kari or match commissioner Heinz-Herbert Kreh.

But Kreh has since told his employers that he saw it afterwards on television.

The spokesman said: "The match commissioner's report reported that there had been an incident but nothing more precise."

The timing of the hearing is a further complication for Scotland coach Craig Brown, who has so far stood by his skipper.

Brown insisted that though the elbow, which was a reaction to persistent shirt-tugging by his opponent, could not be condoned there had been mitigating circumstances.

Precedent

Brown has ordered a video to be compiled illustrating the rough-house tactics employed by the part-timers, including a fore-arm smash on Kevin Gallacher.

The Scots have a friendly in Poland the night before the hearing, which means Brown must decide whether to include Hendry in the party without knowing what course of action Fifa will take.

Brown has intimated that he will discipline his skipper, but he has also made it clear he will not make the decision public, at least not until Fifa make their move.

Hendry will also know a precedent for such a situation was set when Italy's Mauro Tassoti was banned for eight games for an off-the-ball incident in the 1994 World Cup finals.

The incident involving Spain's Luis Enrique was missed by match officials but not the cameras.

Apology

A similar ban would effectively end 35-year-old Hendry's international career.

In the game before the San Marino clash, at home to Belgium, he became only the 24th player to be capped 50 times for Scotland.

The player apologised for the incident after the match and Albani, who appeared to have been knocked unconscious, was released from hospital the following day.

Hendry told the BBC on Monday: "I am not a bad guy. I am not a villain, a thug or a criminal.

"Unfortunately some people this week have tried to make out that I am those things.

"Thankfully, the people that know me best, my parents, my wife and my children, would be the first to tell you the truth."

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