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Qatar benches World Cup 'headbutt' statue

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The future hosts of the World Cup in Qatar have decided a statue depicting one of the tournament's most talked-about moments is not worthy of public display.

Officials in Doha ordered the removal of a five-meter (16-foot) bronze statue of French footballer Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt of Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup. So, cranes were brought in this week and on Thursday, the statue's site along Doha's waterfront was empty.

Officials have not commented on the reason for its removal, but the artwork had stirred complaints from Muslim conservatives saying it promoted idolatry. Others argued it's wrong to honor Zidane's unsportsmanlike act in striking Materazzi after an insult from the Italian.

The statue, created by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed, was unveiled in Doha in early October.

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