Goal celebration earns Griffiths a seven-match ban

BEIJING - Australian midfielder Joel Griffiths has been given a seven-match ban for making an insulting gesture with his middle finger while playing for Chinese club Beijing Guoan.

BEIJING - Australian midfielder Joel Griffiths has been given a seven-match ban for making an insulting gesture with his middle finger while playing for Chinese club Beijing Guoan.

Griffiths was also fined 50000 yuan (about R54000). He vehemently denied the offence and said he would appeal against the punishment.

The 30-year-old, who had been substituted, rushed back on to the pitch when Beijing scored an equaliser in the 93rd minute of their 2-2 draw in a Chinese Super League (CSL) match in Henan on Saturday.

"He then made an insulting gesture, which caused terrible impact," the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said on its website (www.fa.org.cn).

The former Newcastle Jets player told a news conference yesterday that the punishment was "unacceptable". He said he had been celebrating with his teammate and brother Ryan and that the CFA decision was based on unclear pictures.

"My life has been completely destroyed. It's all because of the CFA," sina.com quoted him as saying. "The Australian media, my family, my friends have all heard about this. In their eyes I have become a madman, a bad man.

"I will appeal 100percent," he said. "If it fails, I will have to appeal to Fifa. I believe they will carefully look into whether those pictures could prove what I was doing. I believe they can prove me innocent." - Reuters

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