FIFA, the world’s football governing body, has slapped Zinedine Zidane with a €4700 fine and ordered him to do three days community service for the ex-France captain’s headbut on Italy’s Marco Materazzi during the World Cup final. Materazzi has also been fined €3000 and banned for two matches for his part in provoking Zidane.
The punishment ends much initial speculation that the incident was provoked by a racist comment from Materazzi. Zidane later claimed that Materazzi insulted his mother and sister.
In a FIFA statement,
“Both players stressed Materazzi’s comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature. During the course of their hearings, both players also apologised to FIFA for their inappropriate behaviour and expressed their regret at the incident.”
FIFA gets tough on racism
FIFA has recently increased its range of punishments for racist behaviour of fans and players. Under the new rules, Materazzi and the Italian national team would have faced some very serious sanctions should the insult have been racist in nature. Under FIFA’s newly revised Article 55,
“Any player, official or spectator behaving in a discriminatory or contemptuous manner can be attributed to a certain team, three points will automatically be deducted from that team… In the case of matches played without points being awarded, the team in question will be disqualified.”