Speaking as a Barça fan, it is frustrating that Gerard Piqué has been banned for four matches. As a referee, is four games long enough?
Barcelona star defender Gerard Piqué was everywhere on Monday night: shielding the Barça goal, attacking the Athletic goal and, it seems, insulting the assistant referee.
Referee Velasco Carballo noted in his report that Piqué said to the man on the line “me cago en tu puta madre” (roughly translated as “I s**t in your f*****g mother”), after he felt the assistant had missed a clear offside.
Piqué has admitted confronting the assistant referee and apologised for doing so, but denies using the words that Carballo has attributed to him. He said on Twitter:
I want to apologise because the attitude with which I protested was not the correct one.
However, at no point did I direct any insult towards the assistant referee.
FC Barcelona are appealing the ban.
Discussing the matter on a referee forum on Facebook, the consensus seems to be that the assistant made the right call, although it was a difficult decision to make given the speed of the game.
There are also questions about the length of the ban, specifically: is it long enough? If someone at work came up to you and started verbally abusing you, which is essentially the case here, would you expect them to receive a longer suspension than 360 minutes?
The length of the ban may be seen by some as an acceptance of abuse towards referees as a part of the game; uncomfortable, but normal. That is not the way we should view these acts.
If Piqué did use the words attributed to him, then he should have received a longer suspension or a deep fine. Even if he didn’t, his actions were unacceptable and the ban should stand, but with a reasonable fine. Obviously, this is subject to the league’s own rules, of which I am, in this case, unaware.
Referees do a difficult job, but they are only human. They make mistakes, but without them games would not go ahead. The abuse of referees is not acceptable, for any reason and in any form, and anyone who does abuse them should face – and accept – the consequences of their actions.