Di Canio wins fair play award (but don't tell the referees)

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The Independent Football

Paolo Di Canio, the footballer who turned arguing with referees into a contact sport, has won an international award for fair play.

While Di Canio may be best remembered for pushing over the referee Paul Alcock three years ago, Fifa, the game's international ruling body, will present the West Ham striker with its annual Fair Play Award at the world player of the year gala in Zurich on 17 December.

Fifa said it was making the award in recognition of "a special act of good sportsmanship in an English Premiership match last season". Di Canio was in a good position to score against Everton when he caught the ball to stop the game and allow the Everton goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, to receive treatment for what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, congratulated Di Canio at the time "on behalf of Fifa and all fair-minded football fans for this splendid gesture made in the true spirit of fair play".

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