Bartez slapped with three month ban

22nd April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 22 (AFP) - France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was given a three-month ban Friday for spitting at a Moroccan referee when Olympique Marseille played a friendly match in Casablanca in February.

PARIS, April 22 (AFP) - France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was given a three-month ban Friday for spitting at a Moroccan referee when Olympique Marseille played a friendly match in Casablanca in February.

"He didn't spit in his face but he certainly did spit at the official," said French federation disciplinary committee chairman Jean Mazzella.

Barthez, 33, faces an additional three-month ban for any further offences. Mazzella said he could have been punished with a six-month ban.

That would have prevented him from starting the 2005-2006 season with Marseille in August and could have led to Barthez bringing forward his retrirement date.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper, who won the European Cup with Marseille in 1993, has already said he will retire after the 2006 World Cup.

An ill-tempered friendly between Marseille and Wydad Casablanca was abandoned after Barthez ran off the bench to confront international referee Abdellah El Achiri.

Video replays clearly show Barthez raising his arms toward the referee - although no physical contact was made - and then spitting on him.

Barthez has won 73 caps since his debut against Australia in May 1994, making him the longest serving French goalkeeper.

He became first choice for the 1998 World Cup, which France won by beating Brazil 3-0 in the final, and was also a member of the side that won Euro 2000.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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