Germany coach Loew banned from Euro 2008 quarterfinals

Germany coach Joachim Loew was banned from the touchline for Thursday's European Championship quarterfinal match against Portugal.

updated: June 22, 2008 07:08 IST
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VIENNA, Austria:

Germany coach Joachim Loew was banned from the touchline for Thursday's European Championship quarterfinal match against Portugal after UEFA punished him over his touchline spat with a fourth official.

Loew and Austria coach Josef Hickersberger were both given one-game suspensions, UEFA said on Wednesday, two days after they were banished to the stands by the referee for appearing to bicker with the fourth official during Germany's 1-0 group win.

Loew's assistant, Hansi Flick, will likely take charge of the team from the bench, as he did for the remainder of Monday's match.

The decision further hampers Germany's preparations for the crucial match at St. Jakob Park in Basel. The three-time champions have already had one day's less rest than Portugal, which completed its group matches on Sunday.

"I completely share the disappointment of the sports leadership of our national team and can very well understand that our federal coach regards himself as being unjustly treated," German football association president Theo Zwanziger said. "I am certain that it will be tied to giving the team extra motivation for the match against Portugal and that they will want to have their coach back on the bench for the European Championship semifinals."

The ban for Loew, who stood toe-to-toe with the fourth official before referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez sent him from the field, prevents him from having any contact with his players from the moment they arrive at the stadium until after the match.

He isn't allowed to sit on the bench, have a radio link to his assistants, give a pre-match talk or visit the changing rooms at halftime.

But unlike in Vienna, where Loew went to the stands and chatted with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Germany coach will be available to conduct the traditional post-match interviews.

Flick and Austria team manager Andreas Herzog had to meet the media at Ernst Happel Stadium.

Hickersberger, whose team needed victory over its bigger and stronger neighbor to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament it is co-hosting with Switzerland, will serve any suspension in his team's next competitive match _ most likely a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup against France in September.

UEFA's control and disciplinary body had been set to make a decision on Tuesday once it had read the referee's report, but the governing body said the meeting had been put back a day so that it could review any incidents from Tuesday's first-round matches between France and Italy, and the Netherlands and Romania at the same time.

Unlike for players, there was no automatic ban for coaches who are sent to the stands. Players incur an automatic one-game suspension for a red card and can have that increased depending upon the seriousness of their offense.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he did not approve of Loew's ban.

"I would like UEFA to review this punishment and let him stay on the bench tomorrow. I would applaud if UEFA allowed him to coach," Scolari said. "It's not my presence or his presence that will make a difference in the game."