Football: Club deny Baggio's knife claims

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The Independent Online
WISLA KRAKOW yesterday admitted that Parma's Dino Baggio was struck by a metal object thrown from the crowd during their Uefa Cup draw on Tuesday, but have denied the Italian was injured by a knife.

"During the game we didn't notice any incident that would justify the reaction of the Italian press and television," Ludwik Mietty-Mikolajewicz, president of the southern Polish club, told a news conference. Italian media reports claimed that Baggio had been hit by a knife and required five stitches.

Television pictures showed Baggio clutching his head in the 80th minute of the 1-1 draw and being led off the pitch for treatment, but he later rejoined the game. "There is talk of Baggio receiving five stitches but I don't know where that came from because the player returned straight to the match," Mietty-Mikolajewicz said.

Wisla Krakow officials were shocked by the initial claims of a knife attack, because no such incident was described in the match report by the visiting Uefa official. But an unofficial complaint was later made by Parma to European football's governing body.

The club has questioned security guards and players, and reviewed tapes of the game to determine what happened, a spokesman said. He also suggested the complaint had been made to deflect attention from the fact that Parma had failed to win the game.