Former Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi has been banned for three months by the Italian football league after he attacked midfielder Adem Ljajic during yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Novara.
The 51-year-old struck Ljajic in the dugout after the player’s apparent dissent at being substituted just 32 minutes into the match.
A statement from the Lega Serie A read: “The TV images have shown a thoughtless conduct, a violent and unpredictable one, and the serioussness of it cannot be lessened by the emotional tension generated by the delicate situation of the team.”
Fiorentina dimissed Rossi hours after the incident and have appointed team manager Vincenzo Guerini as their coach until the end of the season.
Rossi has not spoken since the incident.
The former Palermo boss, who replaced the sacked Sinisa Mihajlovic in November, endured a difficult spell with the Viola.
Fiorentina have won just three of their last 11 games and the point against Novara left the Tuscan side only six points clear of the relegation zone with two games left to play.
“I would have never expected such a reaction from him,” Palermo president Maurizo Zamparini said. “I know it’s a very difficult day for Rossi, especially when he watches the images on TV and sees what he did.
“He will be the first to understand that he made a mistake.”
Siena boss Giuseppe Sannino was one of the many coaches to come out in defence of Rossi, who has a 20-year coaching career behind him.
“Rossi is known as a very serious man, who has never gone over the line,” he said. “Personally, I don’t feel like condemning him.
“A coach is always alone and there’s always big tension in our football.
“I am saddened his image has been tarnished by this gesture.”
AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani also spoke about the incident.
He said; “Rossi’s reaction was exaggerated but the players need to show respect to their coaches.
“I cannot justify what Rossi did but he was provoked.”
Fiorentina defender Cesare Natali admitted this incident could not have come at a worse possible time for the team, who have yet to guarantee Serie A safety.
The Viola travel to 18th-place Lecce on Saturday needing a point to guarantee top flight football net season.
“I am saddened for what has happened,” he said. “I feel sorry for the coach and for Ljajic, who I think could have avoided any reaction after being substituted.
“We must all now focus on one thing only and that is to go to Lecce and take the point we need in order to defend our status.”
Fiorentina announced today they have opened disciplinary proceedings against the 20-year-old Ljajic.
The Serbian midfielder has scored one goal in 20 league appearances for Fiorentina this season.