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Football:  Barthez Faces Possible Ban


Fabien Barthez
French World Cup football hero Fabien Barthez is facing a likely ban for spitting on a referee. The maximum one-year penalty could end his international career.

The French soccer federation's 17-man disciplinary commission met Thursday to decide if the Olympique Marseille goalkeeper should be punished. An announcement is expected Friday.

The 33-year-old Barthez is accused of spitting at and verbally abusing Moroccan referee Abdellah el-Achiri during a friendly match between Marseille and Wydad Casablanca on February 12 in Casablanca.

If Barthez is suspended for six months, he will miss France's four remaining World Cup qualifying matches. Barthez, who played on the winning 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 teams, has already said he will retire after the next World Cup.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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