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Ribery banned for three games for pushing official

Rome, Italy: Franck Ribery has apologised after being suspended for three matches on Monday for pushing an assistant referee following Fiorentina's dramatic late loss to Lazio the night before.

Ribery was handed the ban after he approached assistant referee Matteo Passeri "threateningly" and uttered "disrespectful words" before pushing him after the final whistle on Sunday, said the Italian Football Federation's disciplinary panel.

"I'm very sorry for last night, I apologise to my teammates, the coach and fans," Ribery said on Twitter on Monday.

"I also apologise to Mr Passeri because at the end of the game I was very tense and angry and I hope he can understand the state I was in."

The French striker was already furious when he was taken off by coach Vincenzo Montella after 74 minutes. Television cameras showed him agitated on the bench, shouting repeatedly at Montella.

That anger had not subsided by the end of the match, which Fiorentina lost 2-1 after Lazio scored a controversial goal in the 88th minute. He pushed one of the assistant referees twice on the way to the dressing room. 

The Serie A website said the former Bayern player received a red card at the time.

It also said he was fined 20,000 euros.

Ribery had made a strong start to his first season with Fiorentina, effective on the pitch and charming Italian fans and media. 

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