Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

Hagi escapes jail term

Former Romania international Gheorge Hagi escaped jail Tuesday when a court gave him a suspended fine for kicking and spitting at a referee in a Turkish league match four years ago.

The 40-year-old was originally sentenced to 17 months in jail for the attack during the 2001 game between Istanbul outfit Galatasaray and Ankara club Genclerbirligi.

But the judges then handed him a fine of 2,857 Turkish Liras (1,770 euros, 2,125 dollars) which was suspended on the grounds that the defendant was unlikely to commit criminal activity in the future, the Anatolia agency reported.

Hagi played for Galatasary between 1996 and 2001, during which the club won four league titles, the UEFA Cup and the Super Cup.

He later came back in March 2004 to train Galatasaray, but resigned in May following weeks of speculation that he would be axed for falling foul of the management and fans.