Zidane could be stripped of Golden Ball award, says Blatter

الأربعاء، 12 يوليه 2006 - 17:11

كتب : Megan Detrie

عصر "ديوك" ما بعد زيدان سيبدأ يوم الأربعاء

Zinedine Zidane may be stripped of his World Cup best player award FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday.

Blatter has said that FIFA is planning to investigate the circumstances of Zidane's sending off for a headbutt on Marco Materazzi, after the Italian insulted him.

Despite Zidane's outburst, he was named the Golden Ball winner for the World Cup, leading Italian duo Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo.

The award is decided by journalists' votes, however, Blatter has hinted that FIFA retains the ability to rescind their decision and have Zidane stripped of his award.

"It's not FIFA that decides who wins this award but an international committee of journalists," he told La Repubblica newspaper.

"All the same, the FIFA executive committee has the responsibility of intervening when it is a matter of conduct which goes against the ethics of the sport."

"That is why I gave the orders to our disciplinary commission to investigate what happened," he added

The violence occurred with nine minutes to go in extra-time with France and Italy drawn 1-1 in the World Cup final.

Materazzi and Zidane exchanged words before the latter lowered his head and rammed Materazzi in the chest, knocking him to the ground.

Italy went on to win the match 5-3 on penalties and Zidane did not emerge from the locker room to receive the silver medal.

Blatter said he was astonished to see Zidane act the way he did.

"To see him (Zidane) acting like that leaves me vexed, both for himself and for all sense of fair play," Blatter said.

"I've known Zidane for several years, his tremendous personality, the way he lives his life, his modesty and his love of his family."

Materazzi defended himself on Tuesday in an interview with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

While he didn't repeat what he said, he insisted he neither insulted Zidane's mother, nor called him a terrorist.

"It was the kind of insult you will hear dozens of times and just slips out of the ground," Materazzi said.

Zidane is the son of Algerian immigrants and has suffered taunts about his heritage throughout his football career.

"I did not bring up Zidane's mother; for me a mother is sacred," Materazzi added.

Zidane will appear on French television at 1800 GMT on Wednesday night to explain his actions.

This will be the first time 34-year-old has addressed the media after his controversial red card in the World Cup final.