Barcelona defender Pique handed four-match ban

Barcelona, Aug 19 (IANS) FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was handed a four-match ban on Wednesday for abusing an assistant referee during the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF), which met on Wednesday to decide Pique`s fate, ignored the defender’s plea that he did not insult the official.

The 28-year-old will miss Barcelona’s trip to Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid as well as home games against Malaga and Levante. He could return to match action in the away game to Celta de Vigo on September 23.

“The verdict of the competition judge, in application of article 94 of the RFEF’s disciplinary code, was announced on Wednesday morning and it is not good news for Gerard Piqué. The central defender has been suspended for four games following his red card in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup,” Barcelona said in a statement.

The Spain international was sent off 10 minutes into the match at Bilbao’s San Mames Stadium on Monday following a heated confrontation with the assistant referee over the absence of an offside flag against opposition striker Aritz Aduriz.

Referee Velasco Carballo’s claimed in his post-match report that Pique shouted “I s*** on your w**** mother” at his assistant, an indiscretion for which the centre back could have been banned between four and 12 games.

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