World Cup 2006 News
Materazzi appears before FIFA over Zidane incident
Jul 14, 2006, 12:30 GMT
Zurich - Italy defender Marco Materazzi appeared before disciplinary committee of the governing body FIFA which is investigating his role in the sending off of Frenchman Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup final.
FIFA opened its investigation against Materazzi on Thursday after Zidane said Wednesday that provokations from Materazzi made him lose his temper and head-butt the Italian in the chest.
Zidane, who was playing his last match as a professional footballer, was sent off in extra-time of the match for the incident which went unnoticed by the referee and linesman but was observed by the fourth official, according to FIFA.
Italy went on to win a fourth World Cup title on penalties after a 1-1 deadlock from 120 minutes of play last Sunday in Berlin.
Zidane said Materazzi insulted his mother and sister. Materazzi acknowledged to have insulted Zidane but insisted he didn't use foul language against his mother.
FIFA originally had planned written statements from both players before a face-to-face meeting and the verdict both set for July 20. Materazzi appeared as early as Friday because he was due to go on a post-World Cup holiday.
Zidane has so far not appeared before FIFA.
Materazzi faces a ban if found guilty, but the length of it depends on what he said.
Materazzi's lawyer, meanwhile, told the BBC that a ban would set a dangerous precedent and that only Zidane should be sanctioned - which would have no consequences because he has retired.
'If they want to attack a player for what he keeps saying on the pitch, they will be very busy in the future because it's quite normal that players shout to each other in a game - especially when it's such a stressful game,' Materazzi's agent Claudio Vigorelli said.
Materazzi cited an example from Euro 2004 where Italy captain Francesco Totti was sent off and banned for three games for spitting at Danish player Christian Poulsen.
'I wonder why FIFA didn't open up a case against Poulsen two years ago in the European Championships in Portugal after the reaction of Totti.
'Totti was banned for four games, which was reduced to three, and nothing happened to Poulsen - this is absolutely a similar case,' he said.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur