Zidane faces possible sanctions from FIFA

Published:
Zurich, Switzerland - FIFA's disciplinary committee met Thursday to consider punishments for Zinedine Zidane's head-butt in the World Cup final.

The former France captain, who was sent off for ramming Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the chest with his head, went into the closed-door hearing midmorning, FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said.

Details of the proceedings were unavailable.

Zidane, who retired after the July 9 game in Berlin, faces a possible fine and a symbolic ban. He could also be stripped of his Golden Ball award as the best player in the tournament.

Materazzi, who appeared before the FIFA panel last week, also faces a possible fine and suspension.

Zidane has already submitted written testimony.

FIFA plans to announce its verdicts following the hearing.

Any penalty would sully the legacy of Zidane, a man widely considered one of the greatest players of this generation.

Zidane said he attacked Materazzi because he insulted his mother and sister. Materazzi denied insulting Zidane's mother.

The head-butt came during a match watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world, forcing FIFA to respond.

Zidane apologized to children who watched the match, but said he didn't regret what he did because he was provoked by repeated harsh insults about his family.

"Above all, I'm human," he said on French television last week. "I would rather have taken a punch in the jaw than have heard that."

Playing in extra time in his farewell game, Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words as the two walked upfield. Zidane appeared to be distancing himself from the Italian, but then turned, lowered his bald head, and drove it into Materazzi's chest, knocking him to the ground.

Zidane was sent off, and Italy went on to win its fourth World Cup, beating France 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes.

Materazzi said the focus should be on Zidane's gesture and not on any provocation.

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