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Pinto indefinitely suspended

Portuguese forward Joao Pinto, ejected in a first-round World Cup match against South Korea, was indefinitely suspended Tuesday for hitting a referee. ADVERTISEMENT

FIFA's disciplinary committee said there were indications Pinto punched referee Angel Sanchez of Argentina in the stomach when shown a red card for tackling a South Korean player from behind last Friday. The Koreans won 1-0, eliminating Portugal from the tournament.

``The act of hitting a referee is considered to be a serious violation of the disciplinary code,'' FIFA said in a statement.

``Given the serious nature of the offense, the disciplinary committee has already requested for additional information.''

The committee can make a decision based on evidence available at the time and is not obliged to have a hearing with all parties involved, according to FIFA rules.

FIFA did not say when it would announce the exact number of games Pinto will miss.

Earlier Tuesday, FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper said ``There have been some video pictures which have been received from another camera -- which is not a television camera but working in the stadium for other purposes -- which has shed new light on the incident.''

Portuguese soccer officials in Lisbon denied Pinto punched the referee.

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