Celtic may attempt to overturn Balde ban

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The Independent Online

Celtic will mull over the one-match suspension of the defender Bobo Baldé before deciding whether to appeal against the punishment. The Frenchman became only the second player to be punished by the Scottish Football Association following video evidence.

Balde was handed the ban yesterday for deliberately striking the Hibernian defender Paul Fenwick in a Scottish Premier League match on Saturday 2 February. A Celtic spokesperson said: "We are seeking clarification on a few points in relation to the decision."

A statement from the SFA revealed: "The incident, which was missed by the match officials, was clearly picked up on television, and the SFA disciplinary committee used video evidence to take action."

Balde, who attended the disciplinary committee meeting at Hampden Park accompanied by the Celtic company secretary Robert Howat, has also had 12 points added to his disciplinary record.

He will miss Celtic's next match, against Aberdeen in the Tennent's Scottish Cup quarter-finals on Monday night, while the 12 points take him over the disciplinary threshold and he will also miss the league game against Rangers on 10 March.

The Rangers defender Fernando Ricksen was the first player in Scotland to be punished on video evidence alone. He received a ban last season for an off-the-ball kick at the Aberdeen midfielder Darren Young in a game at Pittodrie in November 2000.

Rangers had managed to delay Ricksen's punishment by appealing against the decision and Celtic have seven days to lodge an appeal of their own. But they are unlikely to do so as their manager Martin O'Neill has already fined the player for the incident, arguing that had the referee seen it he would have sent Baldé off.

Austria Vienna want to sign Thomas Flögel, the Hearts midfielder claimed yesterday. He could be forced to leave Tynecastle to help ease the financial burden on the Edinburgh club.

The Austrian is one of a number of players out of contract at the end of the season and the Hearts manager Craig Levein may have to let players go.

Flögel said: "I would like to stay and play for Hearts for another two or three years but there is also the possibility of going back to Austria for my family. I would prefer to stay in Scotland but I have had negotiations with Austria Vienna and they have made an offer to sign me.

"I would like to stay with Hearts but I cannot change some of the things that are happening financially here and I don't want to put them under any more pressure.

"If they cannot come together with a contract for me, then I have to look somewhere else."

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