Grimandi banned for hitting Simeone

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The Independent Online

Arsenal's Gilles Grimandi has been banned for three games for striking Lazio's Diego Simeone in an ugly incident caught on TV cameras during the Champions League game this week.

Arsenal's Gilles Grimandi has been banned for three games for striking Lazio's Diego Simeone in an ugly incident caught on TV cameras during the Champions League game this week.

And Lazio star Mihajlovic has been banned for two matches for racially abusing opponent Patrick Vieira in the same game.

Football governing body UEFA acted after reports by the referee and its own observer.

Grimandi struck Argentinian Simeone, who needed six stitches to e head wound, after having his shirt pulled. The referee missed the incident.

French midfielder Vieira claimed Yugoslav Mihajlovic had taunted him throughout the 1-1 draw in Rome. Mihajlovic admitted the taunts but denied being racist.

A statement from European football's governing body said: "Mihajlovic has been suspended for the remaining two group matches of the UEFA Champions League as a result of sustained racist insults directed at Arsenal FC players throughout the match.

"The Yugoslav player admitted the verbal abuse, alleging he had previously been provoked.

"UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body considers this to be a serious violation of the sporting principles which UEFA has always defended, especially bearing in mind the grossly humiliating nature of the verbal abuse."

Lazio have also been fined £29,000 after objects were thrown at players and match officials, and for Simeone and Juan Sebastian Veron's roles in confrontations with Arsenal players after the final whistle.

Arsenal picked up a £8,300 fine after arriving on the pitch three minutes late before the match. They also had to be called three times before they emerged from the dressing room for the second half.

Both clubs have until midnight on Monday to lodge appeals against the decisions.

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