Turkish Football News

Former Chelsea star Raul Meireles' 11 match ban reduced

2012-12-27 11:02:20

Raul Meireles has been cleared of intentionally spitting at referee Halis Özkahya

The Professional Football Discipline Committee (PDFK) released a statement today confirming that the 11 match ban handed out to Raul Meireles has been reduced to a four game suspension.

The PDFK analysed five CD's of footage from various angles both televised and non-televised from the Galatasaray - Fenerbahçe derby played on 20 December, 2012.

According to the PDFK's statement: "Raul Jose Trindade Meireles spoke to the referee in an enraged manner from close distance during the incident in contention.

"The words he used towards the referee are intelligible however, it's clear that he was using strong words. It's possible that fluid from his mouth could have hit the referee while speaking however, he did not spit at the referee during this engagement, it's physically impossible that he could have spat during that time.

"Therefore the eight match ban given as a result of breaking rules 42/3 35/4 do not apply, Raul has however, been found guilty of breaking article 36/1-a due to his unsportsmanlike behaviour and punished with a one game suspension."

Meireles received an additional three match ban for his actions towards the referee following the red card. The PDFK found Meireles guilty insulting the referee, unsporting behaviour and also took into account public decency and values.

The Portuguese international midfielder had initially been punished with an 11 match suspension by the Turkish Football Federation for allegedly spitting and making hand gestures alluding to the referee Halis Özkahya after being sent off in the Intercontinental derby.

Meireles protested his innocence following the ban and found support from former colleagues, including Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina and Andre Villas-Boas. The 29-year-old midfielder vehemently denies spitting at the referee and believes Özkahya misunderstood his hand gesture which is known as Cagunfa in Portugal. The gesture is used against someone who is afraid or fears something.

The gesture looks similar a hand sign used in Turkey which alludes to a person being a homosexual and is generally used in a derogatory manner.

Fenerbahçe completed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles for €10 million on a four-year contract this summer. Meireles has two goals and an assist to his name in 18 appearances for the Yellow Canaries this season.

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