Pogatetz ban reduced

Last updated : 17 August 2005 By Reggie Holdsworth
The Reuters news agency states that the Russian FA has reduced his 24 week ban to an 8 match ban, and this ban expired last week.

"MOSCOW, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Austria defender Emanuel Pogatetz will be able to make his English Premier League debut for Middlesbrough this weekend after Russian soccer authorities decided to reduce his six-month ban.

Pogatetz, who played for Spartak Moscow in the first half of the year, was suspended by the Russian Premier League (RFPL) last month for making a dangerous tackle in a league game against Shinnik Yaroslavl on June 25.

The defender was shown a straight red card after tackling Shinnik midfielder Yaroslav Kharitonsky from behind and breaking his leg in two places.

However, the RFPL's disciplinary committee has agreed to cut his ban to eight matches after Pogatetz publicly apologised for his action and visited Kharitonsky in a Yaroslavl hospital.

Pogatetz's eight-match ban expired last week.

The 22-year-old Austrian international, who was loaned to Spartak by his former club Bayer Leverkusen until June, joined Middlesbrough last month on a five-year contract.

Middlesbrough, who drew with Liverpool 0-0 at home in their Premier League opener last week, visit Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday."

It is great news for Boro who are having a mini crisis in defence, particularly this weekend with the suspension of Ugo Ehiogu.