New Delhi: Former French and Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires was on Saturday suspended for two matches after a bust-up with a rival coach during half-time in an Indian Super League football match, organisers said.
The incident took place between Pires, who plays for FC Goa, and Atletico Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas during the break of an ill-tempered match in Goa last Thursday.
Brazilian great Zico, who coaches FC Goa, said after the game that Pires mentioned he was hit on the face by Habas as the teams came off the field at half-time.
Habas was suspended for the next four matches by the league`s disciplinary committee, while both Pires and he were fined 500,000 rupees (approx $8,177), a statement from the organisers said.
The Kolkata team`s Ethiopian striker Fikru Lemessa was also banned for two matches and fined 500,000 rupees for an on-field scuffle in the same match, which his team won 2-1.
The ISL, which is modelled on cricket`s popular Indian Premier League, is backed by sports management giants IMG and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and televised by Rupert Murdoch`s Star TV.
Cricketing greats Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, Bollywood A-listers Ranbir Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, and Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid are among co-owners of the eight franchised teams in the 10-week long tournament that began on October 12.
The league has lured past greats like 39-year-old Alessandro Del Piero of Italy, ex-Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, and former French internationals Nicolas Anelka, Pires and David Trezeguet as marquee players.