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 By Ian Holyman

Norway's Ole Selnaes banned for 11 months after insulting official

Ole Selnaes Norway
Ole Selnaes has also been fined €5,000.

Norway midfielder Ole Selnaes has been given an 11-month international ban after insulting a match official in his side's World Cup qualifier with Azerbaijan last month.

Selnaes, 22, was punished for his abusive words towards one of the assistants of Israeli referee Liran Liany following Norway's 1-0 defeat in Baku on Oct. 8.

"After the game I walked off the pitch and into the tunnel where the linesman was standing," Selnaes wrote in a letter to FIFA's disciplinary panel, according to a Football Association of Norway (NFF) statement.

"As I passed him on my way to the changing room, I said to him: 'You referees whistled on everything, you are so f---ing bad. That was all.

"There were lots of other people there, and other things might have been said, but I cannot be held responsible for that. At that time, there was a lot of noise in the tunnel -- also from Azerbaijan people [staff, players, stadium workers] who were celebrating their win."

Saint-Etienne midfielder Selnaes added: "I apologise for the statements I made after the game, it was badly handled by me. However, I am very disappointed with the verdict, which I think is unfair."

The NFF has asked FIFA to clarify its decision, and will -- on the basis of that information -- consider an appeal for Selnaes, who was also fined €5,000.

Selnaes, who joined Saint-Etienne in January from Rosenborg, will miss Norway's Group C qualifier against Czech Republic in November, as well as the matches against Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Czech Republic again in 2017.

Norway are currently fourth in the group, a point behind third-placed Northern Ireland and six behind unbeaten leaders Germany.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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