UEFA to hear Dida appeal on Monday

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ZURICH, Oct 18 (Reuters) European soccer's governing body UEFA will review the two-match Champions League ban handed to AC Milan goalkeeper Dida at a special appeals hearing on Monday.

UEFA confirmed receipt of Milan's appeal against the ban on Thursday and said its independent appeals body would consider the case ahead of next week's Champions League action.

Dida was controversially punished after appearing to feign injury following a slap round the neck by a Celtic fan during Milan's 2-1 defeat by the Scottish champions at Celtic Park on October 3.

UEFA's disciplinary body said he had been sanctioned under regulations that require players to ''conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship''.

Milan announced their intention to challenge the verdict almost immediately with club lawyer Leandro Cantamesse describing the ban as ''absolutely excessive''.

The club's vice-president Adriano Galliani confirmed the decision to appeal yesterday.

''Dida did not do anything,'' Galliani told reporters. ''On the contrary, he was attacked''.

The Celtic supporter, who had run on to the pitch following his team's late winner, was given a lifetime ban by the club.

Celtic were fined 51,190 dollar -- with half suspended for a two-year probationary period -- for ''a lack of organisation and improper conduct by supporters''.

Unless he succeeds in his appeal, Brazil goalkeeper Dida will miss Milan's double-header against Group D leaders Shakhtar Donetsk.

The European champions, struggling to qualify for this year's knockout stages, will host the Ukrainians yesterday before travelling to Donetsk for the return on November 6.

REUTERS BJR PM1725

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