VAN DAMME JUST WANTED TO SHIELD PIERRE

Feyenoord will hear Friday whether Pierre van Hooijdonk’s three-match ban has been upheld after a protracted appeal hearing studied the ins and outs of the case yet again Thursday. Key witness for the prosecution was Ajax defender Jelle van Damme who had at first supported Pierre, claiming that nothing happened and the red card was unnecessary. The Belgian has since appeared to change his story however. Because he originally ‘wanted to protect’ Van Hooijdonk.

The appeal committee handled the incident that led to the striker’s red card in the Amstel cup semifinal against Ajax in a lengthy session lasting around two hours. Two key figures in the hearing were assistant referee Pool and Ajax player Jelle van Damme. The Belgian has made contradictory statements since the incident and he attempted to justify them when he told the appeal committee that he ‘had wanted to protect Van Hooijdonk’ immediately after the game. ‘I didn’t want to do the dirty on a colleague after the game, but I have to tell the truth to the disciplinary committee,’ said Van Damme. Assistant referee Pool stated that he had observed an ‘unrestrained kicking motion’ by Van Hooijdonk, before reproducing the alleged kick coincidentally in the direction of Feyenoord lawyer Van Benthem. Pierre van Hooijdonk also had the opportunity to put forward his views on the incident, repeating his original story. Feyenoord now has to wait and see what the appeal committee decides. The ruling is expected Friday.
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