Gerard Pique gets four-match ban for swearing at referee
Gerard Pique has been handed a four-match ban for his sending off in Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup second leg game against Athletic Bilbao. According the official website of the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation), the centre-back will miss his side’s next four games after he was found guilty of violating article 94 of the football disciplinary code.
The 28-year-old centre-back was agitated with the linesman’s decision to not call an offside on Artiz Aduriz during Barcelona’s 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou, and retaliated at the official’s decision by using profanity. This left referee Carlos Velasco Carballo with no other choice but to give him a red card in the 55th minute, ending the Catalan club’s chance of overcoming the four-goal deficit they picked up in the first leg.
Pique had issued an apology on his official twitter account before the announcement of the decision but flatly denied insulting the linesman.
"I want to apologise as the attitude with which I protested to the linesman was not correct.” he said, in a message on his twitter page. “It was a game with a lot of tension, when we had a lot on the line. However, in no moment did I use any type of insult towards his person."
Barcelona backed up Pique’s version of events during their communication with the RFEF and published a statement on the club’s official website, which read: "Barcelona have presented arguments against the red card shown to Gerard Pique in the 58th minute of the game against Athletic Club in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. The argument put forward is that the player did not address the referee's assistant in the terms included by referee Velasco Carballo in his subsequent report.”
This is not the first time that referee Velasco Carballo has sent off Pique in a competitive La Liga match. The Spanish international was sent off by the Madrid-based official in 2013 during a La Liga game against Sporting Gijon, later going on to claim that the decision was a ‘premeditated’ one.
Pique’s four match ban means that he will miss Barcelona’s upcoming La Liga fixture against Bilbao along with the next three games against Malaga, Atletico Madrid and Levante. This will leave Luis Enrique with a huge shortage of defenders right before their first fixture of the season as Jeremy Mathieu is also suspended. Left-backs Jordi Alba and Adriano are also major fitness concerns after missing recent matches for the club, while right-back Douglas is currently out injured.