Milan make appeal to Uefa against two-game ban for Dida

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The Independent Football

Milan confirmed yesterday that they have appealed against Uefa's decision to ban their Brazilian goalkeeper Dida for two Champions League games.

Dida was punished for breaching Uefa's "principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship" with his over-reaction to being struck by a Celtic fan in the Champions League game at Parkhead earlier this month. If the suspension is upheld, Dida will miss the Champions League games against Shakhtar Donetsk, the first of which will be at San Siro next Wednesday.

"We have just sent the appeal to Uefa for Dida," said Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani. "The important thing is that a definite decision is taken before next Wednesday's Champions League game. Dida hasn't done anything – in fact he was hit."

The Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi, has admitted that Dida's reaction was a "mistake". He said: "It's hard to understand what goes through the mind of a player when those things happen. It can also happen to a great champion, to make a mistake."

The Milan owner is nevertheless keeping faith with the Brazil international and is adamant that the club – who lost 2-1 at Celtic – owe him a debt of gratitude for past heroics.

"We owe Dida one of our Champions League victories, the one in 2003 in Manchester against Juventus [which was decided on penalties]," he continued "It was him against [Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi] Buffon – he made the saves while Buffon didn't. Dida made us win the trophy."

The Celtic fan who ran on to the field was banned for life by the Scottish champions, who were fined £12,500 over the incident.

In France, the former Marseilles coach Rolland Courbis was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday by a French appeals court which upheld his conviction in a player transfer fraud scandal. He was also fined ¿200,000 (£139,000). Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who holds a majority stake in the club, was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a ¿200,000 fine.

Prosecutors had said some ¿22m was illegally diverted from club funds as part of the transfer of 15 players between 1997 and 1999.

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