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'FIFA may strip Zizou of Golden Ball'

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india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 04:51 IST

FIFA may strip disgraced French skipper Zinedine Zidane of his World Cup best player award, the organisation's president Sepp Blatter has told Italian newspapers.

Zidane was announced as the winner of the prestigious award on Monday morning, the day after the World Cup final which saw him sent off in the second period of extra time for head-butting an Italian opponent.

Italy went on to defeat France 5-3 on penalties after the game in Berlin's Olympic Stadium was tied at 1-1.

FIFA has since launched an investigation into the sending off incident involving Zidane and Italy's Marco Materazzi.

Zidane claims he was reacting to insults aimed at him by Materazzi and is scheduled to give his version of events live on French television on Wednesday evening.

Blatter said that before taking any decision on whether to strip Zidane of the best player award, he wanted to see the results of the FIFA investigation.

"It's not FIFA that decides who wins this award but an international committee of journalists," he told La Repubblica.

"All the same, the FIFA executive committee has the responsibility of intervening when it is a matter of conduct which goes against the ethics of the sport."

"That is why I gave the orders to our disciplinary commission to investigate what happened."

Voting by journalists covering the World Cup for the best player award is by a deadline of midnight on the day of the final, but most journalists submit their votes earlier to better concentrate on their work during what is the busy climax to the competition.