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Pique Handed Four Match Suspension

pique-fcbBarcelona defender Gerard Pique will miss the first four matches of the new La Liga season for abusing match officials in the European champions’ Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Pique was shown a straight red card in the second leg of the tie on Monday, which ended 1-1, for taking his protests towards the linesman too far as Barça failed to overcome a 4-0 first leg deficit. The charge against Piqué was based on article 94 of the Disciplinary Code, Piqué used insulting language against the linesman and was given a straight-red, as stated in referee Velasco Carballo’s report. The central defender stated on Twitter that he never insulted the referee’s assistant but to no avail.

The length of the ban was confirmed by Spanish football’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday. The Competition Committee judge was critical of Barcelona’s efforts to defend Gerard Piqué’s actions in the Spanish Super Cup, describing the club’s statement as a “smokescreen”.

The statement mentioned “flimsy arguments” and rejected the club’s interpretation of what it considers “a crystal-clear insult and lack of respect”.

“According to the appellant, it was a ‘typical Catalan expression’ in order to ‘add greater emphasis to the previous sentence to express disagreement or anger’, that the player claims to have used (‘giving a Spanish form to something that does not lose its vulgarity such as ‘la puta madre’ – ‘your mother is a wh*re’, when translated from Catalan: ‘la puta mare’)”, read the statement.

Furthermore, Piqué’s attitude was criticised beyond the insult: “His body language was inappropriate and showed a lack of respect towards the officials.

Despite the reprimand from the Competition Committee judge, Barcelona have confirmed that they will appeal the ruling to the competition’s appeals committee. Barring a successful appeal Pique will now miss Barça’s daunting rematch away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday and the trip to Atletico Madrid on 12 September, as well as home games against Malaga and Levante.