Argentina manager Diego Maradona has been banned from football for two months and fined by FIFA as punishment for his rant at journalists following Argentina’s qualification for the World Cup finals.
The ban, announced by a FIFA disciplinary committee after a hearing with Maradona, extends to any “football-related activity” and is effective immediately, meaning the Argentina manager is suspended from November 15 to January 15.
“The committee reached this decision following a three-hour meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich,” a statement from FIFA read. “The head coach of Argentina was heard by the committee during 40 minutes and apologised to FIFA and the world football family.
“The committee took into consideration the apologies and the sincere remorse shown by Maradona in its decision, which was communicated to him at the end of the meeting. The sanction, which was taken on the basis of article 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, applies from 15 November 2009 to 15 January 2010.
“The committee stressed that any breach of this decision or any repetition of a similar incident would mean that stronger sanctions would have to be imposed in the future.”
In practical terms it means that Maradona will not be able to manage his side when Argentina face Czech Republic in a friendly on December 12 although he will return for their following fixture – a friendly against Germany on March 3.
Maradona, who has had a succession of brushes with authority during a controversial career, was also fined £14,800 at Sunday’s hearing in Zurich despite making an apology for his behaviour on October 14.
Following a 1-0 win over Uruguay in Montevideo that confirmed Argentina’s place at the World Cup finals, Maradona rounded on his critics in the press, using sexually-explicit language to denigrate journalists who had scrutinised his team’s poor performance during qualifying.
It is not the first time that the 1986 World Cup winner has been punished for an altercation with the press. In 1994 he shot at journalists with an air rifle outside his home in Buenos Aires, injuring four people, and was given a suspended jail sentence of two years and ten months.