Materazzi: I was provoked

Marco Materazzi insists he was provoked in the build-up to the incident that left Siena's Bruno Cirillo with a split lip and the Inter Milan defender a two-month spell on the sidelines.

Marco Materazzi insists he was provoked in the build-up to the incident that left Siena defender Bruno Cirillo with a split lip and the Inter Milan defender a two-month spell on the sidelines.

The Italian international was Tuesday banned by the disciplinary committee of La Lega Calcio (the Italian Football League) for a fracas with Cirillo at the end of Sunday's Serie A game between the sides which Inter won 4-0.

Materazzi will miss eight club games and one international fixture during his suspension which runs until March 29.

And while Materazzi accepted his punishment, he was quick to claim that he was not the only guilty party.

"I calmly accept the decision of the disciplinary committee and I respect the decision of my club not to appeal against the ban," he told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But I would also like to say that, while I committed an error, I cannot forget certain events that provoked my bad behaviour and that amplified everything that happened.

"However, I maintain that this is not an attempt to justify my actions."

Materazzi did not play in the Siena game but had allegedly been taunting Cirillo - a former Inter player - from the bench throughout the match and is also reported to have thrown a punch at the defender entering the tunnel.

Inter have been fined 5,000 euros (?3,416) by the La Lega Calcio for Materazzi's presence at pitchside during the Siena game.

The former Everton player was not part of the Inter squad for the match and league rules prevent such players from sitting on or close to the bench.

The disciplinary committee called Materazzi's behaviour "a gratuitous act of violence which came as a result of unacceptable unsporting deportment from the player, which had already been apparent during the match.

"There is no evidence that Cirillo provoked Materazzi, nor that he followed him down the tunnel."

Siena president Paolo De Luca was delighted with the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, which completely absolved Cirillo of any blame.

De Luca was also keen to emphasise that Inter officials had conducted themselves very well towards their Siena counterparts in the aftermath of the incident.

"Even though two months may not seem much given everything that happened, I would like to underline how important it is that the wall of silence and that a grave incident from the football world has come into the open," he said.

"Inter showed an exemplary behaviour, with their directors immediately acting in the correct manner towards us.

"I would now like a veil to be drawn over the whole affair."

Materazzi, who is currently injured, will miss Italy's friendly with the Czech Republic in Palermo on February 18.