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Fifa suspends both Zidane and Materazzi

Zidane (left) is is to do community service with children for his head butt

(Keystone)

Fifa has banned former French football captain Zinédine Zidane for three games for head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup final on July 9.

The disciplinary committee of soccer's governing body also suspended Materazzi for two national games after its hearing on Thursday at Fifa headquarters in Zurich.

Zidane, whose ban is academic since he hung up his boots after the final in Berlin, was also fined SFr7,500 ($6,030). Materazzi, who admitted insulting Zidane, was fined SFr5,000.

In a statement, Fifa said that since Zidane had now retired from the game, he had agreed to do three days of community service work with children and youngsters, as part of Fifa's humanitarian activities.

It said Materazzi's suspension was handed down "for repeatedly provoking Zidane".

Fifa gave both players to the right to be heard in line with its disciplinary code. The hearing with Materazzi took place on Friday last week, while Zidane was questioned on Thursday.

Not racist

In their statements to the committee, chaired by Switzerland's Marcel Mathier, both players stressed that Materazzi's comments had been defamatory but were not of a racist nature.

Both players also apologised to Fifa for their "inappropriate behaviour" and expressed their regret at the incident.

Playing in extra time in his farewell game, Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words as they walked up field. Zidane appeared to be distancing himself from the Italian but then turned, lowered his head and drove it into Materazzi's chest – knocking the player to the ground.

Zidane was sent off after the incident, and Italy went on to win the game 5-3 on penalties after the game was stalemate at 1-1 after extra time.

The Frenchman later claimed Materazzi had insulted his mother and his sister.

However, Materazzi maintained what he said was not racist, religious or political and he had not made reference to Zidane's mother.

Despite the incident, Zidane went on to win the Golden Ball for the tournament's best player and despite suggestions to the contrary, Fifa has confirmed the Frenchman will be allowed to keep the award.

Fifa spokesman Andreas Herren said the issue was not even discussed at Thursday's meeting.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Zinédine Zidane was banned for three games (he will do three days of community service work as he has retired from football) and fined SFr7,500 ($6,030).
Marco Materazzi was banned for two games of the Italian national side and fined SFr5,000.
Fifa's disciplinary committee was chaired by Switzerland's Marcel Mathier.

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