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Niersbach to appeal one-year FIFA ban

Blog - FIFA
By ESPN Staff

FIFA investigates Frings, Cufre, Rodriguez

BERLIN, July 2 (Reuters) - FIFA is investigating the role of Germany midfielder Torsten Frings plus Argentina defender Leandro Cufre and forward Maxi Rodriguez for their part in the fracas that followed Friday's World Cup quarter-final.

Sanctions were also being considered against officials of both teams after the trouble that began immediately following Germany's 4-2 win on penalties at the Olympiastadion.

FIFA officials and the referee were caught up in the chaos and punches and kicks appeared to be thrown in scenes lasting about 90 seconds in front of a crowd of 72,000.

FIFA had said earlier on Sunday that it was taking no action against any Germany player but it is now investigating Frings, who had been considered a certain starter for Tuesday's semi-final with Italy.

'Following new evidence coming to light, the disciplinary committee have opened a case against the German player Torsten Frings who they are considering played an active role in the incident at the end of the match,' said FIFA spokesman Markus Siegler.

'The German federation and the player (Frings) have until 10 o'clock on Monday morning to submit a written explanation,' said Siegler. 'Because of the urgency of the situation a decision will be announced by the committee on Monday afternoon.'

Italy's Sky Sport television has repeatedly shown images of the melee, with commentators saying the images showed Frings punching Argentina forward Julio Ricardo Cruz.

But Frings protested his innocence.

'I found myself in a crowd of people where everyone was hitting out wildly,' he told German newspaper Kreiszeitung Syke.

'I took two punches myself. I put out my hands to protect myself, that was all.'

FIFA said at its daily briefing earlier on Sunday that a case had been opened immediately against Cufre, a non-playing substitute who was red-carded by Slovak referee Lubos Michel for his part in the fracas.

Photographs in German newspapers on Saturday showed Cufre kicking defender Per Mertesacker in the midriff.

Siegler also confirmed that Rodriguez was cited 'following his apparent attack on the German No.7 Bastian Schweinsteiger'.

He said the disciplinary committee was still studying video footage of the incident and collecting other evidence.

'...a further assessment is being made with regard to officials of both teams,' he added.

The match ended 1-1 after extra time leading to a shootout with the trouble appearing to start when Germany midfielder Tim Borowski gestured towards the Argentina players to 'keep quiet' having scored the decisive penalty to make it 4-2 to Germany.

Asked if a breakdown in security enabled officials to go on to the pitch after the match, Siegler said: 'Let us not be too picky about that, it was a highly-charged emotional moment and officials do go on the pitch to congratulate the players.

'That is one thing - that has no relation to what followed on Friday.'