Linesman to report Asprilla 'head-butt'

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The Independent Online


Faustino Asprilla will be reported to the Assocaiton for head- butting Keith Curle by the official who was literally on hand at the incident.

The linesman, Andy Martin, had his hand on the arm of Newcastle's pounds 6.7m Colombian as he attempted to separate him and the Manchester City captain when Asprilla's forehead came into contact with Curle's face. The pair, who had tangled earlier in Saturday's 3-3 draw at Maine Road, were indulging in a touch-line wrestling match after the final whistle when the incident occurred.

Martin refused to comment on the flare-up other than saying: "I've got to send my report to the FA." However, his view of the clash is considered just as important as the referee's and could be crucial in determining whether Asprilla is charged. Martin Bodenham, the referee, was 30 yards away and did not see what happened.

Asprilla's first brush with controversy came 12 minutes after the break, when he was hauled back by Curle - all arms - as he tried to break down the left. He attempted to use his strength to try to shake free, but in the end resorted to elbowing the defender in the face. Surprisingly, he escaped a booking.

The inquest starts today. Clare Tomlinson, an FA spokeswoman, said: "We're very concerned about the alleged incidents and will be viewing the relevant video evidence from all angles."

However, Asprilla, who scored United's second goal, is unlikely to face police action. "There were no charges made at the match and unless Curle makes a complaint of assault it's down to the FA," a spokesman said.