Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman will be absent from the touchline for Saturday’s home game against League leaders Atletico Madrid. The Spanish Football Federation on Wednesday rejected the club’s appeal against the contact ban.
On 29 April Koeman was ousted in Granada’s 2–1 home defeat and was hit by two-match suspension after being shown a red card as he described the fourth official as “what character” after being warned about his behavior.
In a statement by the Competition Commission, Koeman was suspended for violating Article 117 of the Disciplinary Code, which has been described as “showing abusive attitude towards referees, directors or sports officials”.
The Dutchman was unavailable for Valencia’s 3–2 win on Sunday, putting his team two points behind Atletico, and will also miss the match against the leaders at Camp Nou. His assistant Alfred Schrader had to take over the reins of the team.
Barcelona was hoping Koeman to head the important game against league rivals Atletico at Camp Nou but their dreams shed into vain after their appeal was rejected on Wednesday. However, the Catalan giants will now try their luck with TAD and have requested a temporary suspension of the ban which will allow the Dutchman to be on the touchline against Atletico.
Koeman addressed the issue in the pre-game press conference: “We’re going to appeal this decision because I think it’s an exaggerated suspension. All I said was ‘what a character’ and I got a two-match ban,” he said.
“If I’d insulted more heavily I think it would have been 20 games. We will appeal this decision to show we don’t agree with it. Tomorrow I won’t be on the bench but in the stadium but we’ve talked with the technical staff and we are prepared.”
Barca sits third with 74 points, remaining four matches and will jump to Atletico if they win on Saturday. Real Madrid, who is in second place with 74 points, will face fourth placed Sevilla on Sunday.
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