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By ESPN Staff

Domenech warned over bribe claims

UEFA has sent a fax to the French Football Federation requesting that French national coach Raymond Domenech gives an explanation of the comments he recently made in reference to an Under-21 match played in 1999 between France and Italy.

In an interview with French daily Le Parisien this week Domenech alluded to 'a referee being bought' during a tie between the nations. Domenech was coach of the French team at the time.

UEFA president Michel Platini on Friday demanded that his fellow countryman provide proof of his allegations or face punishment from the governing body. In the interview Domenech threw salt into a very fresh wound adding: 'It is not me who invented the refereeing sagas in Italy...There are arrangements made in Italian football.'

'If there is no evidence of these comments, he will be sanctioned', said UEFA Director of Communications, William Gaillard.

On Friday, Il Corriere della Sera, Italy's most read newspaper, led with a full-scale assault on Domenech with a front page titled 'High Tension'.

The paper added: 'Italy-France has started one month early. It is the France coach, with a bad habit of provocation, who has ignited the fire.'

Il Corriere continued the attacks on Domenech writing: 'Domenech is scornfully arrogant and touchy, someone who does anything to get what he wants. And in this case it is to raise the tension to the benefit of his team.'

Platini insisted that 55-year-old Domenech would be charged with unsporting behavior if he does not back up his allegations.

'We're going to send a letter to the French federation so that Mr Domenech provides us with proof of what he says, and if there is no proof we will penalize him,' warned Platini.

President of the French football federation (FFF) Jean-Pierre Escalettes has tried to pour cold water on the rising flames by insisting to his Italian counterpart, Giancarlo Abete, that the comments made by Domenech did not reflect the opinions of the FFF.

'Mr Abete really appreciated the gesture of Escalettes, and has thanked him for quickly intervening in this affair,' said the Italian football federation (FIGC).

France will travel to Italy for their second encounter with the 'Azzurri' in the Euro 2008 qualification stage on September 8, having won the first match 3-1 on home soil last year.

France currently lead Group B of the qualification round, two points ahead of Italy in second place, with Scotland a further point adrift in third.