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Zidane/Materazzi disciplinary proceedings: suspensions, fines, community service and regret

Suspensions and fines were the sanctions pronounced by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee at its meeting today (Thursday, 20 July 2006) as part of the disciplinary proceedings opened against Zinedine Zidane (France) and Marco Materazzi (Italy) after their clash during the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ final in Berlin on 9 July. Zinedine Zidane has also agreed to do community service work with children and youngsters.

Meeting under the chairmanship of Marcel Mathier (Switzerland), the five-man FIFA Disciplinary Committee imposed a three-match ban and a fine of CHF 7,500 on Zinedine Zidane on account of his head-butt to Materazzi's chest. As Zidane has now retired from international football, the committee took note of Zidane's pledge to do three days of community service work with children and youngsters as part of FIFA's humanitarian activities. Materazzi was suspended for two official matches of the Italian national team and fined the sum of CHF 5,000 for repeatedly provoking Zidane.

FIFA gave both players the right to be heard in accordance with the FIFA Disciplinary Code. The hearing with Marco Materazzi was held at FIFA headquarters on 14 July, with Zinedine Zidane questioned during today's meeting. In their statements, both players stressed that Materazzi's comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature. During the course of their hearings, both players also apologised to FIFA for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident.

Referee Horacio Elizondo (Argentina) sent Zidane off in the 110th minute of the World Cup final after his clash with Materazzi. The incident had been directly observed from his position at the pitchside without the use of a monitor by the fourth official, Luis Medina Cantalejo (ESP), who informed the referee and his assistants through the communications system. Both match officials were also invited to attend the meeting. According to the regulations, the fourth official must inform the referee if any acts of violent conduct are committed out of sight of the referee and his assistants.

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