Premier League

Shelvey: BR advised Swans move

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Thu, 04 Jul 2013 10:34:00

Paris St Germain sporting director Leonardo has been hit with an increased suspension by the French Football Federation's appeals body for pushing a referee earlier this year.

The Brazilian was initially handed a nine-month ban over the incident that followed a Ligue 1 clash with Valenciennes on May 5, but the FFF's High Commission has now imposed a sterner sanction that will expire on June 30, 2014.

"The High Commission of Appeal of the French Football Federation on Wednesday decided to suspend Leonardo, sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain, from all official activity until 30 June 2014," read a statement on fff.fr.

Leonardo's initial ban had been due to expire on February 8, 2014, a sanction PSG branded as "unjustified and extremely harsh".

The club launched an immediate appeal but that has now backfired, with Leonardo facing an additional four and a half months on the sidelines, during which time he cannot be present on the touchline, in referees' dressing rooms or at any official functions.

Influence diluted



The increased punishment also threatens to severely dilute his influence with new PSG boss Laurent Blanc, who has replaced Carlo Ancelotti.

Leonardo is alleged to have barged into referee Alexandre Castro in the tunnel after the Valenciennes match and has been provisionally suspended since.

The 43-year-old had claimed he was pushed into the referee by the principal match delegate Marc-Gerard Biolchini, but the disciplinary committee that initially ruled on the matter decided his action was deliberate.

Leonardo was outspoken in his criticism of referees last season and described the sending-off of defender Thiago Silva in the Valenciennes match as "unacceptable".

The French champions were also handed a suspended three-point deduction for next season, but the FFF High Commission elected to pass on the club's appeal against that sanction to the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), who first handed it down.

"Concerning the removal of the three-point deduction on PSG, the Commission decided to refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee of the LFP," the statement concluded.

The 21-year-old midfielder on Wednesday signed a four-year contract after an initial £5million deal, with a further £1million in add-ons, was agreed quickly between the two clubs.

Rodgers knows the south Wales set-up well having only left there for Anfield last summer and told Shelvey it would be ideal for him.

"Leaving a club like Liverpool is a very hard decision to make but coming to Swansea, who play similar football which Brendan and managers before him installed here, is an attraction," said the England Under-21 international.

"Brendan said he wouldn't let me go to a club that wasn't right for me.

"He said Swansea are perfect for me with the way I play.

"He couldn't guarantee me the first-team football at Liverpool, and he said if I could get the game-time at Swansea then I should definitely go.

"I could have stayed at Liverpool and fought for my place because they didn't want to get rid of me, but I felt, in the end, I needed to come and make a name for myself.

"Rather than sit on the bench every week at Liverpool I need to come and play football and get myself to the status that I once had.

"Moving here will help me in terms of the way the manager (Michael Laudrup) wants to play.

"Obviously having worked under Brendan that will stand me in good stead.

"I just want to enjoy my football, get as many games under my belt as possible and hopefully win something with Swansea."

Having praised his former boss, Shelvey, who is flying out to Holland this morning to join his new team-mates for pre-season, is now looking forward to working with Laudrup.

"When someone like Michael comes in for you, then you can't really say no," he told swanseacity.net.

"I spoke to him and I liked what he had to say. Fingers crossed, it will all click on the pitch.

"He was one of the world's best players - he has experience of playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid, so hopefully I can get some games under him and progress well.

"I want to learn under him and hopefully he can develop me into a top player.

"It's been a mad rush, but it's good to get all the paperwork signed.

"I just want to get onto the field now and show what I can do."

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