Vieri denies racism claims

Last updated : 13 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The Italian is being investigated after Newcastle officials complained to UEFA the incident, but he is adamant that he is innocent.

"I categorically deny, even if it was a tense moment in the match, that I said anything racist," he told Inter’s official website.

"All I did was tell him to move back as he was stopping us taking the kick. LuaLua was even booked for that move.

"I must add that LuaLua said nothing about it on the field. All this chaos erupted after everyone had left the Stadium."

It is perhaps worth questioning who has the most to gain from the claim and counter claim.

LuaLua has nothing meaningful to gain as UEFA can’t change the result of the game and won’t award him any kind of damages.

Vieri on the other hand is facing a lengthy ban and losing his lucrative advertising contracts if found guilty.

Lets hope that UEFA find the Italian guilty and hand him a suitably heavy punishment – a six-game ban would rule him out of the rest of the Champions League campaign or a hefty slice of next season’s.