Maradona set to face FIFA hearing

BERNE - Argentina coach Diego Maradona will appear before a FIFA disciplinary committee on Sunday over his foul-mouthed outburst last month, soccer's world governing body said on Tuesday.

Maradona could be sidelined from matches in next year's World Cup if FIFA decide to hand him a stadium ban for his rant at the end of the 1-0 win in Uruguay that guaranteed his team a place at the finals in South Africa.

The volatile Argentina coach, who was kicked out of the 1994 World Cup as a player for a doping offence, will travel to FIFA's headquarters in Zurich for the hearing after his team's friendly in Spain on Saturday.

"The disciplinary hearing related to the head coach of Argentina, Diego Armando Maradona, and the incidents following the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Uruguay and Argentina on 14 October 2009 will be held at the home of FIFA in Zurich on Sunday, 15 November," FIFA said in a statement.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Marcel Mathier, will grant the head coach of Argentina a hearing, which will take place the day after the international friendly match between Spain and Argentina in Madrid."

Maradona rounded on his critics immediately after the final whistle of the match in Montevideo.

He launched into an expletive-filled rant when interviewed on the touchline and produced another outburst in the post-match media conference broadcast live on several television networks.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced two days later in Cairo that disciplinary proceedings would be opened against Maradona.


The 1986 World Cup winner had been heavily criticised for Argentina's defeats by Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Paraguay that took the twice world champions to the brink of failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

The Argentina Football Federation (AFA) has also already sent a report to FIFA, saying: "Maradona was acting in a state of violent emotion over arguments with journalists in the days before the match."

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

The first controversy began less than one week after he started the job when a row over the AFA's refusal to let him appoint former captain Oscar Ruggeri as assistant coach led to speculation that he could quit.

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 be installed as someone 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.