Football / World Cup USA '94: Leonardo banned

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The Independent Online
LEONARDO, the Brazilian midfield player who was sent off for elbowing Tab Ramos of the United States during Monday's second-round match in San Francisco, received a four-match suspension from a Fifa disciplinary committee last night.

Leonardo will be banned for the rest of the World Cup and was fined pounds 5,000 for the offence, which left Ramos with a fractured skull. Brazil have three days to appeal against the decision.

Italy's Gianfranco Zola was banned for two matches for 'serious foul play' in Tuesday's match with Nigeria. Zola was ordered off only 11 minutes after he came on as a second-half substitute.

Leonardo's suspension was the heaviest Fifa has handed out in this tournament, beating the three-match ban Ioan Vladoiu received for his sending-off against Switzerland. Romania sent Vladoiu home from the tournament.

Jack Charlton, who has yet to confirm that he is available to carry on as manager of the Republic of Ireland, decided at the last minute to fly back to Ireland with his team for a gala reception in Phoenix Park, Dublin, today.

Charlton is awaiting reaction in Dublin to the Republic's showing before deciding whether or not to extend his eight-year tenure as manager into the next European Championship. He had intended to stay on in the United States to fulfil a commitment to ITV. Yesterday's change of heart will be seen as a positive move by Charlton, who will then return to the States to work as a commentator for ITV.

A chartered airliner carrying the Dutch team to Dallas was delayed for nearly five hours yesterday because of a bomb threat.