Football: Referee fury at Di Canio's `lenient' ban
Saturday 24 October 1998
Di Canio, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct, said after the hearing: "I am very, very sorry for what happened. I had a fair hearing, for which I am grateful."
His club, who had themselves suspended Di Canio after the incident, said they would not appeal. "We are satisfied with the outcome," Howard Culley, a Wednesday director, said.
"We fully accept the decision. There will be no appeal. During the hearing Paolo apologised. He apologises to the commission, he apologises to the referee, he apologises to the club and its fans."
The ban will keep Di Canio out of action until, ironically, Boxing Day, when he will be eligible to play for the Owls when they meet Leicester at Hillsborough. Both Di Canio and his club said yesterday they were looking forward to the player's return, and there was no suggestion he will abandon the English game as had been thought was a possibility.
The match against Arsenal was marred by a brawl involving several players just before half-time. The Italian was shown the red card by Alcock and reacted by shoving the official in the chest. Alcock stumbled backwards and fell awkwardly to the ground. Alcock, who has said he will continue to referee matches, was not at yesterday's hearing as Di Canio had already admitted the charge.
David Davies, the FA's director of public affairs, said: "Paolo Di Canio apologised for what had happened. He apologised to the FA, to the referee, to his club Sheffield Wednesday and its supporters. He said he had made a big and a bad mistake. He lost his head for two or three seconds and it will never happen again.
"The commission was told by Sheffield Wednesday that the case was unusual because Mr Alcock had fallen to the ground. The media suggestion Paolo Di Canio had claimed the referee had fallen deliberately was vehemently denied on his behalf. It was also said that he had acted out of character. He had never intended to harm the referee. He had brought shame on himself.
"The commission viewed various videos in connection with the case. They decided Paolo Di Canio should be banned from football for eight games on top of the three he will automatically miss for his sending off.
"This punishment includes the one game he has missed already on the orders of his club. He has been fined pounds 10,000. In line with natural justice the commission said they hadn't come to their conclusion purely so the penalty should act as a deterrent. They considered what happened considerably more serious than normal on-field offences.
"Following today's hearing the commission was unanimous that an urgent recommendation should go to the FA's disciplinary committee to ask that it should be made clear to all concerned that stronger penalties should be imposed immediately on any player who manhandles a match official."
Di Canio's shove on Alcock was not the first time he has been in trouble in England. After joining Wednesday for a club record pounds 4.5m last year he was soon in trouble with the FA for mooning on the pitch in celebration of a goal, and then in January he was sent off in an FA Cup replay for swearing at the referee. Yesterday's ban was criticised as being too lenient by Philip Don, who represents Premier League referees. "It is fair to say I am disappointed with the verdict because I thought it would be longer," he said. "Paolo Di Canio has been found guilty of a major disciplinary issue and I don't think the punishment is correct."
Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, said: "At the top level the game, and the way it is carried out, is looked at by the people who play it in the parks and really we've got to set good standards."
Some might argue Di Canio got off lightly. As recently as 1954, Willie Woodburn, a Rangers' player, received a life ban after collecting five red cards, and more recently still, Eric Cantona was banned in for eight months in 1995 and fined pounds 10,000 for karate kicking a fan who had abused him.
Reaction, page 30
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Latest in Sport
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Paul Scholes column: Rio Ferdinand and John Terry row was bad but they could have kept playing for England
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Mesut Ozil given the worst rating possible by German newspaper Bild after poor performance
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City report: Jerome Boateng thrashes home winner against former team
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...