- Dec 25, 2003
UEFA has banned Italy forward Francesco Totti for three matches after he spat at Denmark midfield player Christian Poulsen during the sides' goalless draw on Monday.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has 24 hours to appeal the decision but, as it stands, Totti will miss tomorrow's game against Sweden in Porto and the Azzurri's final Group C fixture against Bulgaria in Guimarães, as well as Italy's quarter-final tie should they progress from their group. Totti could play against Sweden only if the UEFA appeals body decides to suspend the sentence following an appeal.
Admission of guilt
Totti, who had been charged yesterday with gross unsporting conduct, admitted his guilt but the AS Roma player said the act had been out of character and that he had been subject to provocation. Lawyers representing the FIGC argued that Totti had reacted impulsively, but not aggressively, to what they alleged was provocation by the Danish player, and called for a more lenient suspension.
'Sends out message'
William Gaillard, UEFA's director of communications and public affairs, said: "The body considered the player's admission of guilt, the particular circumstances of the tournament as well as the gravity of the offence." Totti spat in Poulsen's face in the 50th minute of the match in Guimarães and Gaillard added: "This decision sends out a message that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour."
The investigation into the incident was called by UEFA yesterday after a complaint by the Danish Football Association, who supplied video evidence. Spanish match referee Manuel Mejuto González did not see the incident.
he fckin had to spit