Löw banned for quarterfinals

German Football
By German Football June 18, 2008 15:50

Löw banned for quarterfinals

German officials reacted furiously to a UEFA decision on Wednesday to ban coach Joachim Löw from the touchline for Thursday’s Euro 2008 quarter-final against Portugal.

Löw and Austrian counterpart Josef Hickersberger were sent to the stands just before halftime by referee Manuel Mejuto of Spain in their final Group B match on Monday after they rowed with the fourth official, Damir Skomina of Slovenia.

A UEFA disciplinary committee met on Wednesday and after considering Mejuto’s report and statements from the German and Austrian soccer federations decided to ban both for one match. UEFA said Löw would be allowed to follow the match from the stands but would not have access to the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before and during the match and would not be able to contact his team. There is no right of appeal.

German soccer federation (DFB) general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach said in a statement on the federation’s web site that he was “very disappointed” and that he was convinced Löw had done nothing wrong.

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff slammed UEFA and called the move a “serious setback” for soccer. “As sportsmen we simply cannot fathom the UEFA decision and absolutely can’t understand it,” he said. “Joachim Löw was sent to the stands against Austria without any warning and the fact he couldn’t sit on the bench in the second half was punishment enough,” he added. “He did not offend anyone and that is clear from the referee’s report.”

Löw also expressed disappointment in the DFB statement, but declined further comment beyond saying he had to take the decision into account. He had earlier predicted he would be exonerated by UEFA. “I expect to be vindicated and absolved,” he had told reporters on Tuesday. “I haven’t offended anyone. I didn’t transgress any serious rules.”

Mejuta told reporters, however, he was delighted with UEFA’S decision. “It is very important to me that the committee backed my decision because I felt it was the right and only decision to make,” he said. “It gives the referees confidence when we are supported in this way especially when everybody is talking about it and there is a lot of pressure.”

Löw would not attend the eve-of-match news conference at the stadium in Basel later on Wednesday, the DFB said. His place will be taken by Bierhoff, who will be joined by midfielder Clemens Fritz.

The DFB said UEFA informed them of their decision around 3 p.m. when an official statement arrived and Niersbach received a call from UEFA general secretary David Taylor. As co-hosts Austria are already eliminated from Euro 2008, Hickersberger’s ban will apply to the first qualifying match of the 2010 World Cup, UEFA said.

German Football
By German Football June 18, 2008 15:50
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