UEFA rejects Mikoliunas appeal against diving ban

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BERNE, Switzerland, Oct 4 (Reuters) Lithuania midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas has failed in his bid to overturn a two-match ban from UEFA for diving.

UEFA's appeals body announced today it was backing the original sanction handed down by its disciplinary body last month.

Mikoliunas was given the ban after television replays showed him diving to win a penalty during his country's 3-1 defeat in a Euro 2008 qualifying match away to Scotland.

The disciplinary body's landmark decision was the first to be taken under regulations dealing with incidents of cheating that are missed by match officials.

The new rules recommend an automatic ban of two matches for players who act ''with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision''.

Although video evidence had previously been used against players who committed serious fouls without being spotted by match officials, Mikoliunas was the first player to be sanctioned post-match for diving.

He is set to miss Lithuania's next two Euro 2008 qualifiers -- away to France on October 17 and at home to Ukraine a month later.

Lithuania are fifth in Group B, 11 points behind leaders Scotland.

REUTERS AM RAI2240

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