Football: PSG's Leonardo to sit out next season after appeal fails

PARIS (AFP) - Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director Leonardo on Thursday had his ban for pushing a referee extended from nine months to 13 months, the French Football Federation (FFF) announced.

The decision to suspend the Brazilian for the entire 2013-14 season came after an appeal hearing lodged by him against the initial punishment handed down on May 31.

Leonardo was found guilty of shoving referee Alexandre Castro in the tunnel following PSG's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw against Valenciennes on May 5, with the incident being caught on camera by Canal Plus television.

The former AC Milan and Inter Milan coach, having regularly been outspoken in his criticism of match officials throughout the course of last season, was furious at Castro's decision to send off PSG captain Thiago Silva.

Thursday's increased sanction means Leonardo is banned from all official duties as well as standing on the touch-line during PSG games until June 30, 2014.

If he had not appealed he would have been back on duty in February.

In addition, PSG's punishment of a three-point suspended penalty will be reviewed by the French Professional Football League's disciplinary commission.

Leonardo did not attend Wednesday's hearing in person, but his case was put forward by PSG's managing director Jean-Claude Blanc, who said: "The facts (of the incident), suggest to us that the club does not deserve any punishment and perhaps a reduced suspended punishment for 'Leo'."

Unfortunately for PSG and Leonardo, the FFF's appeals commission decided otherwise.