Maradona insults made in state of violent emotion

BUENOS AIRES - Diego Maradona was "in a state of violent emotion" when he made lewd remarks at journalists after Argentina qualified for the World Cup finals, the Argentine Football Association's (AFA) lawyer said on Wednesday.

FIFA opened an investigation into Maradona's outburst at the globally broadcast news conference after his team beat Uruguay 1-0 in Montevideo on October 14 to secure their place at the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Maradona could be fined and banned for at least five matches, according to the FIFA disciplinary code, which could affect his hopes of being in charge of Argentina at the finals.

Lawyer Hugo Passos told reporters on Wednesday the AFA report sent to FIFA said "Maradona was acting in a state of violent emotion over arguments with journalists in the days before the match (in Uruguay)."

The AFA is looking to pour cold water on the issue to try to avoid a sanction for Maradona, who has refused to apologise, saying he had felt aggrieved over criticism of his work.

Maradona's tenure has been marked by clashes with players, coaches, journalists and directors since he took charge midway through the qualifiers in November 2008 following the resignation of Alfio Basile.

Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, a central figure at the 2006 World Cup and for Basile in the 2010 qualifiers, quit saying Maradona did not live by "the same codes".

Maradona has also had differences with 1986 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo, who was appointed the AFA's technical director of national teams.

Bilardo appeared to have been named as someone whom Maradona could turn to for support but the coach has said he will make all the decisions and the older man should "stay up in the directors' box in suit and tie" with AFA president Julio Grondona.

Maradona has begun building a staff for the World Cup by adding former Argentina defender Fernando Gamboa, who is coach of Chacarita Juniors, while Bilardo ally Miguel Angel Lemme will leave when his contract expires next week.

Gamboa's appointment is expected to put Maradona on a collision course with Chacarita, who are fighting for top flight survival.