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Pique banned for four matches after rant

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has been banned for four matches following his rant at an assistant referee during their Supercopa de Espana second-leg clash with Athletic Bilbao.

The central defender was sent off in the early stages of the second half of the game at Camp Nou on Monday, which ended in a 1-1 draw as Barca suffered a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

Pique, 28, was alleged to have told the assistant: "I s*** on your whore mother."

Barca appealed the red card while Pique – despite apologising for the attitude in which he protested to the linesman – insisted he did not insult the assistant.

But the Royal Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) Judge of Competition elected to uphold the decision and hand Pique the suspension.

A short statement on Barca's official website: "The verdict of the Judge of Competition, in application of article 94 of the RFEF's Disciplinary Code, was announced on Wednesday morning and it is not good news for Gerard Pique.

"The central defender has been suspended for four games following his red card in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

"FC Barcelona presented its defence on Tuesday, which included the allegation that the player did not address the linesman in the manner described in the report issued by match referee Velasco Carballo after the game."