Diego Costa banned for 8 matches over Camp Nou red card


Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (2-R) argues with referee Gil Manzano (L) during the Spanish La Liga soccer match against Barcelona played at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Apr. 6, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/Alberto Estevez

MADRID.- The Spanish soccer federation’s (RFEF) competition committee on Thursday imposed an eight-game ban on Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa after he received a red card in his side’s La Liga game against Barcelona.

Costa was penalized by the referee, Jesus Gil Manzano, in the 28th minute of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to the Catalan club after addressing the referee with improper language by repeatedly insulting Manzano’s mother.

According to RFEF, Costa was handed a four-game suspension for insulting the referee, having violated Article 94 of the Disciplinary Code that includes insults, verbal offenses and offensive attitudes.

The Spanish player was given a second four-game suspension as a result of violating Article 96 that includes grabbing, pushing or shaking the referee, due to his behavior with Manzano after receiving the red card in Camp Nou stadium.

The committee also imposed a total of 6,010 euros ($6,778) fine on Costa and another 2,800 euros on Atletico Madrid in accord with Article 52 of the Disciplinary Code.

Atletico Madrid unsuccessfully claimed that by viewing the images the side could confirm the existence of «a contradiction between the comment said by the player and the following explanation of the action of the referee towards the players, and what is included in the arbitration report.»

The La Liga side also defended Costa stating that the Spanish forward «did not try to grab or hold with any kind of force the referee,» and that Costa did not try to prevent Manzano from showing warning cards to his (Costa’s) teammates.

«The actions described by the referee do not correspond to what happened, a manifest material error exists on the part of the referee in the assessment of the facts,» the club added.

The Competition Committee chaired by Carmen Perez delayed its decision until Thursday, as Perez requested clarification from Manzano about the incident that led to Costa’s expulsion.

The referee had 24 hours to respond to the request.

«Once expelled, still in the field of play, (he) grabbed me several times by the arm in order to prevent me from showing the warning cards to both teammates 24 (Jose Maria Jimenez) and 2 (Diego Godin), respectively,» Manzano stated.

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