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Football | Europe

Raul Meireles © Action Images

Meireles ban cut to four matches



Fenerbahce's Portuguese star Raul Meireles had his 11-match ban for spitting and allegedly making an offensive gesture at a referee reduced to four after a Turkish Football Federation appeal commission ruling.

The commission watched more than six hours of video footage of the incident during the derby with Galatasaray on December 16 and concluded that while the former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder was guilty of insulting the official, he did not spit at him.

"As the player carried on talking throughout the entire incident, it would not have been physically possible for him to have spat," the commission ruled in a statement posted on the Federation website.

Meireles, 29, had already picked up a one-match suspension for two yellow cards he received in the Galatasaray game and the commission upheld the decision to fine him 20 000 Turkish pounds.

The midfielder has always protested his innocence and club officials backed him up, insisting he had not spat at the referee.

He was also supported by several members of the Portuguese national team, including national captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I am very happy because I proved that I did not spit at the referee," said Meireles.

"Justice has been done. I have always said that I deserve to be punished for something I have done, not for what I didn't do."

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