Colombian referee banned for five matches

BOGOTA - Former Colombia coach Jorge Luis Pinto has been given a 10-match stadium ban after he was sent off on Sunday, while a referee has been suspended for five matches over a penalty award. The moves appear to be an attempt by Colombian authorities to restore credibility to the national championship, which has been blighted by refereeing controversies and unruly behaviour by players, coaches and officials. The Colombian league's disciplinary committee handed Cucuta coach Pinto his ban after he was sent off for the third time this year during a 1-1 draw with Envigado on Sunday. "After he was sent off, he pushed the fourth official, insulted him with bad language and threatened him several times," the disciplinary committee said in a statement. "He is banned from entering stadiums when .... Cucuta are taking part in a competitive game." Cucuta's Luis Narvaez was suspended for three games after being sent off in the same game. Referee Sebastian Valencia was banned for five matches after awarding Once Caldas a 76th minute penalty, which gave them a 2-1 win over Boyaca Chico also on Sunday. "This was an incident in which (referee) Valencia had direct responsibility," said Fulton Vargas, head of the FCF's refereeing committee. However, Vargas also threatened to take legal action against Boyaca Chico's leading shareholder Eduardo Pimentel, who he said had repeatedly crticised the committee. Carreno fuelled the controversy when he described the award as a present, although he implied that it was not a dive. "When they gift you something like that and you haven't been looking for it, well that's good," the Argentine told the Citytv television station in an interview. "I'm happy because the referee gave us a penalty and with this penalty we won the match." Carreno escaped punishment after the disciplinary tribunal said it was not clear whether he dived or tripped. Once Caldas coach Javier Alvarez was suspended for two games for running onto the pitch and Boyaca director Nicolas Pimentel for four games for entering the pitch and insulting the referee.