- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2011

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - Diego Maradona was fined $2,450 Thursday by the United Arab Emirates Football Association for verbally abusing a rival coach.

Maradona, who coaches UAE club Al Wasl, has been feuding with Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu since losing an ill-tempered match last month.

The 1986 World Cup-winning Argentine complained that Olaroiu and his staff celebrated the winning goal in an unprofessional manner. He later called Olaroiu rude and impolite and suggested it was the club’s players, not Olaroiu, who deserved credit for its early season success.

Olaroiu, a Romanian in his first year at Al Ain, told reporters that Maradona’s criticisms came from someone “who doesn’t have a clear mind,” a reference to the Argentine’s history of drug and alcohol abuse. Olaroiu was not sanctioned over the comments because Al Wasl hasn’t filed a complaint.

In its verdict, the FA disciplinary committee also cautioned Maradona and took him to task for calling Olaroiu “impolite.” The committee dismissed a separate complaint filed by Al Wasl, which accused Al Ain fans of pelting its supporters with stones after the match.

Al Ain Chief Executive Carlo Nohra said Maradona’s sanction was justified and sent a message that such conduct would not be tolerated in the league.

Since arriving in Dubai, Maradona has repeatedly criticized referees he claims were biased against his club.

He also kicked a fan for intruding on a photo shoot he was trying to take with a banner of support from his grandson.

On Wednesday, the 50-year-old Maradona defended his criticism of referees, and said they could benefit from his vast experience.

“I only say what I feel,” Maradona said at a news conference. “In the future, they will realize what I said was right. I have 35 years in the industry and that has made me realize certain things.”

Maradona coached Argentina to the 2008 World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa. He was fired after the World Cup and joined Al Wasl in May.

In 2009, he was handed a two-month ban by FIFA from all soccer activities for expletive-filled rants after his team qualified for the 2010 World Cup.


Follow Michael Casey on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mcasey1

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