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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
fcbate/INPHO Rodionov appears to headbutt Massey after his side's second goal.
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BATE captain apologises to Dane Massey for this headbutt but somehow escapes ban
The striker will be able to play in tomorrow’s second leg.

UEFA’S DISCIPLINARY PANEL have cleared BATE Borisov captain Vitali Rodionov of any wrongdoing despite the striker apologising for headbutting Dundalk’s Dane Massey during last week’s Champions League tie.

TV footage showed the Belarusian international’s altercation with Massey after his side scored the winning goal at the Borisov Arena last Wednesday.

After the game, Massey claimed he was headbutted and Rodionov subsequently issued an apology to the defender for his actions.

However, Rodionov will still be available for the return leg at Oriel Park tomorrow evening after Uefa cleared the 31-year-old of any disciplinary breach.

“I was involved in an incident and I’m really sorry about that,” the striker said in a statement issued through BATE’s website.

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“I understand the wrongfulness of my behaviour and accept that there’s no place for aggression in football. I’d like to voice my sincere apologies to Dane Massey.”

Rodionov added: “I’d like to explain that my actions were not an assault and did not have any direct intent to harm the opponent and were not by any means a demonstration of enmity towards him – but were only a result of emotions after we scored a goal.

“I accept wrongfulness of my behaviour and I’m ready to take any punishment from Uefa’s Disciplinary Body and from my club.”

The second leg kicks-off at 7.45pm on Wednesday and is live on RTÉ 2.

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