| The 36-year-old Zamorano may now be forced to announce his retirement
Santiago: Former Chile captain Ivan Zamorano has been banned for 11 matches for hitting and insulting a referee during Sunday’s stormy final between Cobreloa and his club Colo Colo, the country’s football league (ANFP) said on Wednesday.
Chilean media speculated that the ban, which means the 36-year-old will miss up to half the Clausura championship, would prompt Zamorano to announce his retirement.
Zamorano was one of three Colo Colo players sent off in their 0-4 defeat in the second leg of the final on Sunday.
The red cards were all shown after the team surrounded referee Carlos Chandia to protest against Cobreloa’s third goal which they felt was scored from an offside position.
The former Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker, who returned to Chile this year after playing abroad for 14 years, was seen punching Chandia in the chest during the incident.
The ANFP said in a statement on its website that Zamorano had been punished for “hitting and insulting” Chandia.
Angel Botto, president of the league’s disciplinary committee, added that the punishment could be considered lenient, given that the maximum was a 50-match ban.
But he added that Zamorano might have been given a lighter sentence if a less prominent referee had been involved.
“He’s Chilean football’s number one referee, it is he who represents us in the international field and he has a dignity to protect,” said Botto.
Marco Villaseca and Miguel Riffo, sent off along with Zamorano, were given four and three game bans, respectively.