Dida given two-game ban by UEFA for Celtic fall

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BERNE, Switzerland, Oct 12 (Reuters) AC Milan goalkeeper Dida has been given a two-match ban by UEFA following his dramatic fall during the Italian side's 2-1 Champions League defeat against Celtic in Glasgow last week.

Dida went down after a Celtic supporter ran onto the pitch in the final stages of the match and appeared to make light contact with the Brazilian.

UEFA's disciplinary committee said it had fined Celtic 57,000 dollars -- half of which will be suspended for a two-year probationary period -- for failing to keep the fan off the pitch.

AC Milan immediately issued a statement on their Web site (www.acmilan.com) saying they would appeal the ban.

''AC Milan announces that it intends to appeal to the UEFA Appeals Commission against the two-game ban inflicted on Nelson Dida,'' the statement said.

The ban was later described as ''absolutely excessive'' by club lawyer Leandro Cantamessa.

''It seems like a very, very unbalanced sentence,'' Cantamessa told Italian media. ''Dida has become the protagonist of the episode while the protagonist is another.

''This is not correct from my point of view of logic.'' SPORTSMANSHIP Dida's hearing was based on a paragraph of UEFA's regulations stating that ''players, officials and members, shall conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship''.

Milan insisted before the hearing that Dida's late substitution following the incident had been a precautionary measure taken by the team's medical staff.

If the ban stands, Dida will miss the Champions League Group D home and away double header against Shakhtar Donetsk on October 24 and November 6.

UEFA have given both sides three days from receiving the written reasons for the decisions in which to lodge any appeals.

Celtic have already indicated that they are satisfied with the scale of their own punishment.

''As a club we feel this penalty is proportionate to the incident in question and a fair outcome,'' chief executive Peter Lawwell said in a statement.

''Celtic Football Club took this matter extremely seriously and... took swift and firm action against the offender in question.

The supporter, who identified himself to police on the day after the match, was given a lifetime ban by the Scottish champions.

REUTERS BJR HS1015

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