Leonardo to learn fate
Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo will learn the outcome of his appeal against a nine-month ban for barging into a referee in the next 24 hours.
The Brazilian was handed the punishment by the French Football League's (LFP) Disciplinary Commission in late May having been found guilty of shoulder-charging referee Alexandre Castro following Paris Saint-Germain's 1-1 draw at home to Valenciennes on May 5.
The World Cup winner, who was reportedly enraged by Castro's decision to show a red card to PSG captain Thiago Silva during the game, maintained he had been pushed into the referee by one of the match delegates.
Summoned to appear before the seven-member panel of the French Football Federation's (FFF) Supreme Appeals Commission in Paris, Leonardo is unlikely to attend the hearing given his frantic work in securing PSG's summer signings. The Ligue 1 champions, who were given a suspended three-point deduction over the incident, will be represented by managing director Jean-Claude Blanc.
PSG's case will be put by a lawyer, who is expected to maintain Leonardo's line of defence while arguing the club as a whole was punished without being given the chance to defend itself, suggesting the appeal is more concerned with removing the potentially damaging points deduction than the Brazilian's individual situation.
Leonardo's punishment, which could even be extended to up to a year according to French football's disciplinary code, does not prevent him carrying out his duties as the club's sporting director, only official matchday duties. Consequently, it would preclude him from replacing newly-appointed coach Laurent Blanc until its expiry on February 8 should the former Bordeaux and France coach's tenure quickly turn sour.
Castro's lawyer, Patrick Anton, told L'Equipe Leonardo, who had promised pictures taken by PSG's internal closed circuit cameras would vindicate him, had created a dangerous situation for his client by maintaining his innocence.
"He explained he was under a lot of pressure while denying the facts," Anton said. "The images he produced were quite mediocre, and didn't add anything. There are, for me, aggravating circumstances, because his lie created the conditions in which my client received two death threats by telephone. If he continues along this line, he risks seeing the punishment confirmed."