Zidane to explain final attack at Fifa hearing

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The Independent Online

Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi will learn their fate today when Fifa, football's world governing body, will decide on any punishments for the incident in the World Cup final which led to Zidane's sending-off.

Zidane earned a red card when the France captainbutted Materazzi in the chest after verbal provocation. The Italy defender admits insulting Zidane but denies the abuse was racist or religious and denies making disparaging remarks about his family.

Zidane will defend himself in Zurich with the support of the French Football Federation president, Jean-Pierre Escalettes. Since he has retired, any ban will be academic while the maximum fine of £2,257 would not dent his bank balance.

For Materazzi, if the Fifa committee accepts his version he could escape any penalty or suffer a minor punishment. If, however, he is deemed guilty of racist abuse he could be given a five-match ban and a fine of up to £4,514. Materazzi has already given evidence to the committee, while Zidane will testify today.

The lawyer defending Juventus in Italy's Serie A match-fixing scandal said yesterday that the club's appeal against relegation would be based on their belief that the punishment was not justified. Cesare Zaccone said that Juventus could not be held directly responsible for the actions of their former general manager, Luciano Moggi.

Alessandro del Piero claims that the Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved, a reported target for Tottenham, is ready to stay with Juve despite their relegation. The Juventus sporting director, Alessio Secco, said yesterday: "Del Piero has told me that he and Nedved will definitely remain at the club."

In Spain, Barcelona have been ordered to hold an immediate presidential election by a Spanish judge who upheld a complaint from three club members that Joan Laporta had already served four years.

The judge ruled that according to the club's statutes the year runs from July to June and that as Laporta was elected to the post on 16 June 2003, the period before the end of that month constituted his first year in office.

* Carlos Alberto Parreira resigned as the coach of Brazil yesterday. Javier Clemente has been confirmed as the first coach of Serbia following the country's split with Montenegro. Jose Pekerman has confirmed his resignation as Argentina coach.

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