FIFA suspend Frings following Argie-bargy

July 3, 2006

Germany's World Cup hopes have been dealt a blow after FIFA banned Torsten Frings from tomorrow's semi-final with Italy.

The Werder Bremen midfielder, one of the outstanding players of the quarter-final victory on penalties against Argentina, was caught on television throwing a punch at Julio Cruz during a melee at the end of the match.

FIFA's disciplinary committee has decided the 29-year-old was guilty of violent conduct and imposed a one-match suspension, with another suspended ban that would come into force should he misbehave again in the next six months.

The decision means Frings will be available for the final, should Germany beat Italy, or the third-place play-off.

FIFA's disciplinary committee took the action after new television pictures which showed Frings throwing a punch at Inter striker Cruz.

The German FA were given until 1pm today to submit a defence but after hearing their submission the disciplinary committee ruled Frings was an 'active participant in the incidents following the final whistle'.

The fracas happened after the penalty shoot-out on Friday night, when Argentina players and officials kicked, punched and pushed players and coaches from the German squad. Frings denied any active part in the incident but the pictures show him retaliating.

Argentinian defender Leonardo Cufre was red-carded after the fracas in which he kicked German defender Per Mertesacker. He and Argentina midfielder Maxi Rodriguez have both been charged with violent conduct and have until Wednesday to make their submissions.

Meanwhile, FIFA have insisted the Italian football federation played no part in bringing Frings' involvement to their attention. The pictures were first shown on Italian TV before then shown in Germany.

FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said: 'There was no attempt from the Italian federation to incite FIFA to do something. This footage was shown on a public channel in Germany.'