Bellamy protests his innocence

Last updated : 08 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The referee’s decision has of course ruled Bellamy out of Wednesday’s game against Finland and avoided another tawdry club versus country dispute.

But that bonus has done little to quell the striker’s sense of injustice about the his mystery caution.

He told the South Wales Echo: ''I could not understand it. 'I think he booked for me not kicking the ball out of play, but I didn't know the player was down.

''I got the ball and straight away put my head down and went forward. I had no idea someone was injured.

''Buffon came over and pushed me and then I got booked, but the referee wouldn't explain what I'd done wrong. He was very stubborn and just told me to go away, but I can hold my head up because I did nothing wrong.''

He added: ''It's irritating for me because you don't want to be stewing over a 4-0 defeat for a week, you want to play as soon as possible.

''And it's such a big game for us on Wednesday so it's even worse. I will be there watching and cheering on the boys - we're all in this together along with the fans.''