Meireles' punishment reduced to 4-game ban


ISTANBUL (AP) -- Turkey's football arbitration board has reduced a ban on Fenerbahce midfielder Raul Meireles from 11 games to four on appeal.

The Portugal international and former Chelsea player was punished last week for allegedly spitting at the referee and insulting him during a derby against archrival Galatasaray -- accusations Meireles and Fenerbahce strongly denied.

The Turkish Football Federation's arbitration board on Thursday upheld Meireles' three-match ban for insulting the referee and slapped an additional one-match suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct. It ruled however, that the player could not have deliberately spat at the referee.

The arbitration board said its ruling came after it viewed video footage of Meireles arguing with the referee, from different angles.

Meireles was separately given a one-match suspension for being sent off during the game.