Rajkovic to appeal against year-long ban for spitting

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The Independent Football

Chelsea's Serbian defender Slobodan Rajkovic has launched an appeal against his one-year ban from football, imposed after he spat in the direction of a referee at the Olympics. Rajkovic, who is on a season-long loan at FC Twente in the Netherlands, is due to travel to Zurich on 10 November to present his case to Fifa.

Rajkovic, 19, was seen to spit at referee Abdullah Al Hilali during Serbia's 2-0 loss to Argentina in Beijing on 19 August. His appeal has the support of Twente. "We don't like it at all that the thing has lingered on already for so long," Twente chairman Joop Munsterman said. "We could have had Rajkovic for three months already, and we paid a lot of money for him." If Rajkovic loses his appeal, he could take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The former Germany captain Lothar Matthäus has sided with current coach Joachim Löw in his dispute with captain Michael Ballack.

Chelsea midfielder Ballack criticised Löw in a newspaper interview last week and has since made a public apology, although Löw is demanding he travels to Germany to discuss his remarks in person. Ballack accused the coach of treating the older players in his squad, including team-mate and close friend Torsten Frings, with a lack of respect.

While admitting the likes of Ballack and Frings are important to Germany's success, Matthäus added that "any player can be replaced". He went on to back Löw in any decision he takes, having been impressed by the way he has handled the issue so far. He said: "Löw is perfectly right. The players should let their performances do the talking, not their mouths.

"Certainly we all tried what we could to cement our places in the past, but whenever we had something to say, we did so with Franz Beckenbauer face-to-face or on the telephone, but not in public. Löw has done nothing wrong. Now he and Ballack must build up trust again. It won't be easy – it is like a marriage when you discover that your partner has been seeing somebody else. But you need such players if you want to be successful."

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