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FIFA have slapped a six month ban on Portugal’s Joao Pinto after the player was found guilty of punching a referee.

Two of those six months are described by FIFA as a partial suspension, which means that the Sporting Lisbon player will be allowed to play again on 17 October 2002. By partially suspending the ban, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee also subjected Pinto to a probationary period of one year, which in effect means he will serve a further two months if he commits a further transgression in the next year.

The offence occurred during Portugal’s World Cup group game against South Korea, when Pinto was shown a red card for a violent tackle from behind.

Both the player and the referee Angel Sanchez were present at the hearing.

“The act of hitting a referee is considered to be a serious violation of the Disciplinary Code,” FIFA said in a statement.

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