Diouf apologises for spitting incident as Bolton impose fine
Monday 29 November 2004
The Bolton Wanderers striker El Hadji Diouf last night admitted he had shown a "lack of moral responsibility" and issued an apology after being fined two weeks' wages for spitting at the Portsmouth captain, Arjan de Zeeuw.
Television cameras spotted the Senegal international's act during the second half of Pompey's 1-0 win over Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
Diouf could now find himself in trouble with the Football Association. "I deeply regret my actions and wish to publicly apologise to Arjan De Zeeuw and Portsmouth Football Club," said Diouf. "I have let down my manager, Sam Allardyce, and team-mates. I am a role model to many thousands of fans throughout the world and my behaviour showed a lack of moral responsibility to the public who support me. I am deeply sorry and embarrassed about the incident."
Bolton imposed a fine of two weeks' wages - the maximum allowed - on the player who joined them in the summer on loan from Liverpool.
Diouf was condemned by the Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, and Allardyce for his actions. A combined statement from the two said: "The club does not tolerate such behaviour from its players and we had no alternative but to evoke the maximum fine against El-Hadji Diouf.
"Bolton Wanderers takes great pride in its very proactive family image and yesterday's incident has left a sour taste. We do not condone the actions taken by the player and for that he has been severely punished."
The FA may be concerned that Diouf has a past record of spitting during matches. While at Liverpool he was fined £5,000 by the Glasgow Sheriff Court for spitting at a Celtic fan during a Uefa Cup game.
Cleveland police also launched an investigation earlier this month after Diouf was accused of spitting at a Middlesbrough fan.
Against Portsmouth, Diouf was rankled after being denied a penalty, but he has found no sympathy for his response.
Alan Shearer rounded on Diouf on the BBC's Match of the Day programme. "To spit in someone's face is the lowest you can ever do to a professional footballer. It really is," said the Newcastle striker. "De Zeeuw deserves a medal. Some players would have been banned for five or six games for smacking him. It really is that bad."
The former Scotland international, Alan Hansen, also condemned Diouf. "It was despicable and he has done it before," he said. "He's incensed - he wanted a penalty. He's aggrieved he's not got it, but there is no place in football for this. That is absolutely disgraceful."
De Zeeuw, who scored Portsmouth's winner, said: "I felt it in my face. Hopefully it was just heat-of-the-moment stuff because it's not very sporting. I would rather someone punched me in the face. There is no need for it.
"I had a word with the referee [Steve Dunn] at the end of the match and I tried to with El Hadji Diouf."
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