Maradona given two-month ban

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina coach Diego Maradona has been handed a two-month ban from "any football-related activity" for his bizarre outburst following the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay last month.

Maradona unleashed a foul-mouthed rant on journalists in the wake of his side''s 1-0 win in Montevideo on October 14. The slender victory secured Argentina''s place at next summer''s finals in South Africa despite a stuttering and largely unconvincing qualification campaign; one which was heavy criticised in the country''s press.

Maradona used over 70 players before the team finally earned qualification. He was also questioned for the manner in which he used superstar Lionel Messi.

FIFA opted to impose the ban as well as a 14,800 fine despite the 49-year-old World Cup winning player apologising at the hearing in Zurich on Sunday.

''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 was taken on the basis of article 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.''Maradona''s ban is effective immediately.