The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Heskey may face ban

London: England striker Emile Heskey could be banned from next year’s European Championship finals in Portugal after video evidence revealed he threw a punch at an opponent during Saturday’s tunnel brawl in Istanbul.

The Uefa will look at TV footage of England’s match against Turkey before deciding whether disciplinary action is necessary following the tunnel scuffle.

The confrontation was sparked when Turkey defender Alpay Ozalan poked England skipper David Beckham in the face as the players walked off the pitch at half-time. Reports claimed up to 50 people got involved in the tunnel and Italian referee Pierluigi Collina ordered Ozalan and Beckham to his room to tell them to calm down. Uefa has decided to start disciplinary proceedings against the Turkish FA for incidents when flares were lit in the stadium and a couple of missiles thrown on the pitch.

Uefa said it was ‘extremely happy’ with the overall safety and security but the match delegate had reported infringements. “We have started proceedings against the Turkish FA for a lack of order and discipline,” Uefa spokesman Mike Lee said. “This will lead to a disciplinary charge to be heard at the control and disciplinary body meeting on October 30.

“On the question relating to the players, as a result of Mr Collina’s report we have decided to request video evidence before deciding whether or not a formal disciplinary process is needed.

“Mr Collina was able to see most of what happened in the tunnel and in fact dealt with what happened extremely well. He spoke to David Beckham and Alpay and calmed things down. We have to make sure that he did not miss anything before deciding whether or not to take disciplinary action.”

But Heskey faces a three-match ban for violent conduct after reacting to racist taunts in the tunnel and attacking Turkish player Hasan Sas, the Daily Mail said. The ban would be for competitive matches which would rule him out of Euro 2004.

Alpay Ozalan under fire

Defender Ozalan might never play for Turkey again after his spat with Beckham in Saturday’s match, Turkey coach Senol Gunes said. “You can say that under these circumstances he (Ozalan) may not be called for duty from now on,” Gunes said. Ozalan sought to play down the incident on Tuesday, telling the Villa website: “What happened in the tunnel was nothing really. I tripped down some stairs and fell over. Something then happened behind me. It is forgotten now.”

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