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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 17, 2006

Deco banned but spitter Eto'o escapes

MADRID, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Barcelona midfielder Deco has been handed a two-match ban by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after being sent off for pulling an opponent's hair during Sunday's league match against Athletic Bilbao.

Deco pulled Carlos Gurpegi's hair after the Bilbao midfielder had tried to pick him up off the grass following a foul by tugging at his shirt in the closing minutes of Barca's 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp.

However the federation said it had decided not to take action against Barca striker Samuel Eto'o for spitting at defender Unai Exposito in the same match nor against Bilbao coach Javier Clemente for his comments on the incident.

'We haven't looked into these two cases because no one, not the clubs, not the referee not the anti-violence commission, have complained about them,' competitions committee president Alfredo Florez told reporters.

'Officially the committee has no knowledge of these events. If we receive a complaint from the anti-violence commission then we will intervene, but for the moment we can do nothing. It is the commission had the power to deal with conduct like that of Clemente.'

Former Spain coach Clemente criticised the behaviour of both Deco and Eto'o in a post-match news conference.

'Deco should have been more of a gentleman,' he said. 'Grabbing someone's hair is worse than tugging someone's shirt.

'Spitting is ugly behaviour too. I thought it was something that people who had just come down from the trees did.'

His comments have provoked outrage in certain sections of the Spanish media and amongst anti-racist groups and the anti-violence Commission was expected to look into the case.

Barcelona have said they will appeal against the Deco ban because the Portugal international had been provoked by Gurpegi.