WORLD soccer governing body Fifa yesterday flashed a red card at Argentinian soccer icon Diego Maradona, saying he is not welcome to attend the 2010 World Cup final draw in Cape Town tomorrow night.
Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said the Argentina coach remained banned from all soccer activities globally for his foul-mouthed outburst on television after his country's decisive World Cup qualifier against Uruguay last month. Maradona's two-month ban by Fifa expires on January 15.
"Maradona is banned from all football activities by the Fifa disciplinary committee for two months," Valcke told a media briefing in the presence of African soccer bosses Issa Hayatou, Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan.
"We have heard rumours that he will be joining the delegation from the Argentina Football Federation coming to the draw.
"I have sent a letter to the Argentinian federation to remind them that Maradona is banned from all football activities.
"I can't say what will happen if he comes to South Africa, but at the draw it is clear that he is not welcome.
"The accreditation for the draw is issued by Fifa, so he won't be able to attend the event."
In addition to the two- month ban, Maradona was fined $24630 (R180000) by the Fifa disciplinary committee.
The 49-year-old Argentinian legend has since apologised for his utterances, which were broadcast live on several television networks.
He was one of the 27 coaches from the 32 countries that have qualified.
They were all expected to attend the final draw, an event that will be beamed live to more than 200 countries. The list includes Carlos Alberto Parreira of Bafana Bafana, Nigeria's Shaibu Amodu, Marcello Lippi (Italy), Vicente Del Bosque (Spain), Carlos Queiroz (Portugal), Fabio Capello (England) and Dunga of Brazil.