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French Athletes Brawl

Pair suspended ahead of disciplinary hearing

French Athletes Brawl
25 July 2011

French Olympic medallists Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad have been suspended by the French Athletics Federation after a bout of fisticuffs at Friday night's Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

After both had finished the 1500 metres, Baala appeared to headbutt his bitter rival, sparking a brawl.

Baala, who finished ninth, two places ahead of Mekhissi, told French TV: "I went to comfort him after the race as he looked to be in trouble. But he said 'If I don't say hello, I have my reasons' and put his forehead against mine."

An FFA statement read: "Following the unspeakable behaviour of Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad, Bernard Amsalem, president of the FFA, decided today to call an emergency disciplinary commission of the Federation in order to shed light on this incident and take appropriate action.

"The federal office, in accordance with the bylaws, has decided to provisionally suspended the two athletes."