Football / World Cup USA '94: Tassotti banned for eight games

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ITALY's World Cup delegation said yesterday that it would appeal against the eight-match ban given to Milan's Mauro Tassotti for use of the elbow in Saturday's quarter-final against Spain.

The federation will take no action against the defender who broke Luis Enrique's nose in an off-the-ball incident at the end of the game. Tassotti claimed that the incident was accidental. The delegation's head, Raffaele Ranucci, said: 'We feel strongly that eight matches is an excessive penalty and we will appeal that decision.'

The Italians are angry that video evidence was used to condemn Tassotti but not taken into account when Gianfranco Zola was given a two-match ban after being mistakenly sent off against Nigeria. 'Since none of the four officials at the match saw anything, we took it for granted that nothing would be done.

'Fifa (the game's world governing body) have told us they decided to look at the video evidence on the basis of the report of a fifth official who was there to supervise the performance of the others.'

Arrigo Sacchi, who is always reminding his players of their moral responsibility to entertain and play cleanly, refused to condemn the player he formerly coached at Milan. 'Let he who has no sin, throw the first stone,' Saachi said.

The Italian coach admitted the affair had hit team morale in the build-up to today's semi-final with Bulgaria. 'The team took it very badly. We are very sad. Sad for him and sad that the World Cup had to make such a strong decision.'