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Leonardo suspended for nine months for pushing referee
May 30, 2013 / 8:53 PM / 4 years ago

Leonardo suspended for nine months for pushing referee

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain sporting director Leonardo has been banned for nine months for pushing a referee, the French League (LFP) said on Thursday.

Paris St-Germain sports director Leonardo gestures before their French Ligue 1 soccer match against Stade Brest at the Francis Le Ble stadium in Brest, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Files

Television footage showed Brazilian Leonardo bumping into referee Alexandre Castro with his left shoulder in the Parc des Princes tunnel after PSG drew 1-1 with Valenciennes in Ligue 1 this month.

“The (disciplinary) commission hands him a nine-month ban,” the LFP said in a statement, adding that Leonardo was banned from the bench, the referees’ dressing-room and from all official functions.

Ligue 1 champions PSG were also handed a suspended three-point deduction over the incident for the 2013-14 season.

Leonardo, whose suspension runs from May 8, had denied pushing the referee, saying he was shoved towards Castro by the match delegate.

“The commission’s task was to decide whether the shoulder barge was intentional,” commission president Pascal Garibian told a news conference.

“The commission retained this idea. The commission judges acts, players, and people independently of a club’s notoriety.”

Leonardo, the former Inter and AC Milan manager, received a two-match suspended ban in November from the French federation’s Ethics Committee for criticising the referee after Mamadou Sakho was sent off in a league game at Montpellier.

Leonardo’s latest suspension is a huge blow for PSG, who are reportedly seeking a replacement for Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti who has said he wants to leave the club.

Leonardo would be on the short-list to replace Ancelotti who is under contract with PSG until June 2014. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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