Figo free to face England

Portugese talisman Luis Figo is free to face England in the quarter finals after FIFA admitted it was highly unlikely the Inter Milan player would face any action for headbutting Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel.

    Up close and personal: Luis Figo (r) and Mark van Bommel (l)

    FIFA spokesman Markus Siegler explained that the matter was duly dealt with during the game and therefore it was unlikely the disciplinary committee would act.


    "No, because it was sanctioned immediately by the referee," Siegler told reporters.


    "The referee's report came in last night and it will be looked at by the relevant people.


    "But the offence was sanctioned immediately by the referee.


    "It is only where there is a clear disciplinary issue which has not been acted upon by the referee that the committee can look at it."


    Russian referee Valentin Ivanov showed Figo a yellow card for shoving van Bommel, but in the same melee, the Barcelona player belatedly collapsed to the ground after what appeared to be minimal contact from Figo's head.


    Portugese coach Luiz Felipe Scolari argued it was unreasonable to expect a player not to react.


    "Jesus Christ would have turned the other cheek but Figo is not Jesus Christ. I thought he was much more correct than the Dutch player."


    The Russian official was criticized by FIFA boss Sepp Blatter which perhaps gives an insight into his future prospects at the tournament.


    "The referee's actions harmed what could have been an excellent football match," he said.


    "We saw a very intense match between two teams which like to attack but they were not helped by the referee.


    "I think the refereeing itself deserves a yellow card."


    Portugal play England on Saturday in the third quarter final in Gelsenkirchen.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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