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Fifa probe ‘provocative’ Argentine banner

Soccer

Rio de Janeiro - Fifa said on Saturday that it has launched an inquiry into Argentina's “provocative” unfurling of a banner laying claim to the Falkland islands at a friendly game just before the World Cup.

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Argentina's footballers pose for photographers holding a banner reading "The Malvinas / Falkland Islands are Argentine" before a friendly football match against Slovenia at La Plata stadium in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina on June 7, 2014 in preparation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil to be held between June 12 and July 13. AFP PHOTO / Alejandro PAGNI

The head of Fifa's disciplinary committee said the gesture was an “apparent breach” of regulations on “prevention of provocative and aggressive actions,” according to a Fifa statement.

Argentina could be fined at the end of the inquiry, officials said.

Argentine players displayed the banner proclaiming “Las Malvinas Son Argentinas (The Malvinas are Argentinian)” to the crowd before a friendly against Slovenia in La Plata five days ahead of the World Cup.

The Falklands, which were at the centre of a 1982 war between Britain and Argentina after an Argentinian invasion of the South Atlantic islands, are known as Las Malvinas in Spanish.

England's players at the World Cup have been ordered not to answer questions on the Falklands whilst at the tournament, media reports said.

Fifa said the Argentina Football Association has been “invited to provide its position” to the world body's disciplinary committee. - Sapa-AFP

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