Frei is accused of spitting at Gerrard

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The Independent Online

Switzerland striker Alexander Frei is being investigated by Uefa for allegedly spitting at England midfielder Steven Gerrard during Thursday's Group B match in Coimbra.

Switzerland striker Alexander Frei is being investigated by Uefa for allegedly spitting at England midfielder Steven Gerrard during Thursday's Group B match in Coimbra.

Francesco Totti, the Italy player, was banned for three games after being captured by TV cameras spitting during the group game against Denmark. Now Frei could face a similar charge after the German broadcaster, ZDF, obtained footage said to show Frei spitting over his shoulder and Gerrard then feeling his neck. This has been sent to European football's governing body, who have began a preliminary investigation.

"It appears from the footage that the Swiss player might have spat against the neck of his English opponent," a Uefa statement said. "Before issuing any disciplinary charge, Uefa wishes to collect further evidence, including the statements from the parties concerned."

The two players involved have been asked to submit statements by 5pm today. Uefa will then decide whether to submit the case to their control and disciplinary body.

The incident occurred in the latter stages of England's 3-0 win against the Swiss. If charged and found guilty, Frei could be suspended for Switzerland's final group game against France tomorrow but the player has denied any wrongdoing.

Frei said: "I didn't spit, I never do this. I'm an emotional player. I'm no angel but this is not in my character. Maybe I said some bad words but that's normal on the pitch. I don't want to say anything else until after the Uefa decision."

When asked yesterday about Totti's punishment, the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, said: "If you do that, even if you are provoked, you have to be punished. In all the countries I've been in, that is a big offence. It's not very polite, I must say. I'm sorry for Totti, but I think it's fair."

The Croatia striker Dado Prso was also forced on the defensive after his performance in the goalless draw with Switzerland last Sunday earned him criticism in Glasgow where he will play next season for Rangers.

Prso, who has moved from Monaco, made amends with a superb goal in the 2-2 draw with holders France on Thursday, and hopes that will give Rangers supporters more confidence in his ability.

Prso said: "I know I didn't play very well against the Swiss and I was better against France but one game changes nothing. You can play well or you can play badly in any 90 minutes - what matters is what you do over a long period of time. The Rangers fans will have to give me one season or one year and then they can make judgements on me. But if they give me time I will show them what I can do."

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