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Soccer-Former Greece coach Santos banned for eight games

Reuters

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ZURICH, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Former Greece coach Fernando Santos has been banned for eight competitive international matches after he was sent off at the end of the World Cup match against Costa Rica, FIFA said on Monday.

FIFA said in a statement that Santos, who was sent off at the end of extra time in the round-of-16 tie on June 29, had been guilty of "several acts of unsporting conduct towards the match officials."

Costa Rica went on to win on penalties and the 59-year-old coach parted company with Greece as his contract expired at the end of the tournament in Brazil. He has since been replaced by Italian Claudio Ranieri.

Santos, who had been in charge of Greece for four years, will therefore have to serve the ban if and when he takes over another national team.

He said he had been sent off for arguing with match officials over whether he should be allowed onto the pitch to give instructions to his players. He said the row started at the end of 90 minutes and continued again at the end of extra-time.

FIFA said its disciplinary panel had also banned Italian physiotherapist Aldo Esposito for six games after he was sent off during Italy's stormy 1-0 defeat by Uruguay in the group stage.

Esposito was also guilty of unsporting conduct towards match officials, FIFA said.

Italy were furious after having midfielder Claudio Marchisio sent off in the second half and were also angry after defender Giorgio Chiellini was bitten by Uruguay forward Luis Suarez late in the game.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli and federation president Giancarlo Abete both resigned immediately after the game.

Suarez has already been banned for nine competitive internationals, with eight still to serve, as well as any football-related activity for four months. (Reporting By Brian Homewood; editing by Justin Palmer/Rex Gowar)

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