ZURICH – FIFA has ordered Canada forward Olivier Occean to serve a six-match ban after being sent off and then insulting the referee during a World Cup qualifier against Cuba.
Occean was sent off after a scuffle during Canada’s 3-0 victory in Toronto last Oct. 12. Occean then was involved in “several acts of unsporting behaviour and using offensive language toward match officials,” FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA also ordered the 31-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt player to pay a total of 8,500 Swiss francs (C$9,310) to cover a fine and costs of the proceedings. He can appeal the sanctions.
Occean served the first of his six-match sanction days after the incident, when Canada lost 8-1 against Honduras and was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup.
Occean is the second Canadian player to be slapped with a lengthy suspension in recent months. Canada’s women’s captain Christine Sinclair received a four-game ban from FIFA for an incident following Canada’s overtime loss to the United States in the Olympic semifinals.
Sinclair led Canada to an Olympic bronze medal before being suspended. She served three games during the Four Nations tournament last month in China.
Occean must serve his ban at competitive matches, starting with the Gold Cup tournament in July.
The Canada-Cuba qualifier previously attracted headlines as three visiting players defected, leaving a squad of just 11 for the match.
— With files from The Canadian Press.