FIFA to probe Germany's Frings over brawl
3 July 2006, BERLIN - FIFA said Sunday it was opening disciplinary proceedings against German midfielder Torsten Frings over the melee that followed Germany's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.
3 July 2006
BERLIN - FIFA said Sunday it was opening disciplinary proceedings against German midfielder Torsten Frings over the melee that followed Germany's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.
"After seeing new television pictures, the FIFA disciplinary committee has ascertained that Frings was in all probability actively involved," FIFA spokesman Markus Siegler said, throwing into doubt whether the 29-year-old could play in Tuesday's semi-final against Italy.
Fresh pictures produced by the Italian television broadcaster Sky Italia showed that Frings apparently struck Argentinian player Julio Cruz. FIFA called on the German Football Federation to present its reaction by Monday morning.
Siegler said a decision on any action against Frings would be reached by Monday afternoon. Probes were also being made into Argentinian players Leandro Cufre - red-carded during the fracas - and Maxi Rodriguez.
The evening announcement in Berlin came after FIFA said earlier Sunday it would take no disciplinary action against any German players involved in the melee.
However, Siegler had said the disciplinary committee of football's governing body would look into the role of German team manager Oliver Bierhoff and other team officials in the fracas.
"There will be a review of the behaviour of German officials," he said. "We are not yet at the point where proceedings could begin, but still reviewing the unpleasant events."
Argentinian player Cufre had been shown a red card for kicking an opponent during the scuffles which broke out on the pitch between players and officials from both teams after Friday's match.
Bierhoff blamed Argentina for the trouble for trying to provoke the Germans during the penalty shoot-out, which the Germans won, giving them a berth in the semi-finals.
"I wanted to calm things down, and then they went for me, too," Bierhoff said of the ruckus, which broke out when Cufre went for German defender Per Mertesacker with a kick to the groin. "The whole game had been peppered with provocations," Bierhoff added.
It all came to a head during the penalty shootout, when the majority German fans among the 72,000 crowd persistently whistled when it was the Argentine players' turn to shoot, while the South Americans tried to faze the Germans by swearing at them.
"But we didn't understand any of that because it was in Spanish," said Germany captain Michael Ballack. However, he was also not denying that team-mate Tim Borowski had provoked the Argentinians.
"Boro (Borowski) put a finger to his lips before moving off. That will have ruffled them a bit, all right," Ballack said of the smirking gesture.
The frustration at defeat, inexplicable substitutions - including that of key midfielder Juan Riquelme - by coach Jose Pekerman and their own poor penalty-taking appeared to boil over among the Argentine players in Cufre'a lunge as the Germans celebrated.
In fact, it was not Mertesacker but Borowski who appeared to be the intended target. "It was unfair, what he did. But he's been punished for it," said Mertesacker.
"For me, the whole matter's now closed. And where he kicked me doesn't matter any more, either."
Cufre appeared to try to get away with it without being noticed, but the Slovakian referee tracked him down to the substitutes' bench, where the player was red-carded.
He now faces a lengthy playing ban, while disciplinary proceedings have also been opened into team-mate Maxi Rodriguez for attacking Bastian Schweinsteiger.
"I got one on the back of the head," said Schweinsteiger, who had gone to help Bierhoff out.
Midfielder Frings, now facing a disciplinary probe, said: "We saw that the Argentineans don't know how to behave themselves and are poor losers."
Subject: German news