Spanish federation upholds 8-match ban for Atletico's Costa
Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa (2-R) argues with referee Gil Manzano (L) during the Spanish LaLiga soccer match against FC Barcelona played at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, April 6, 2019. EPA-EFE/Alberto Estevez
Madrid, Apr 12 (efe-epa).- The Spanish soccer federation rejected Friday an appeal from Atletico Madrid against the eight-match ban imposed on forward Diego Costa.
Atletico has the option of appealing to Spain's administrative court for sport within 15 days starting Saturday, the federation said.
The appeal panel refused to reduce the sanction, saying that it "shares the assessment" of the competition committee that punished Costa for an altercation with referee Jesus Gil Manzano during a match last weekend against Barcelona.
Upset at not getting a call after he felt he was fouled, Costa walked up to the referee and - according to Manzano's report - twice uttered the phrase: "I s--t on your whore mother."
The referee pulled out the red card, drawing protests from Atletico's Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, and when Manzano went to his pocket for two yellow cards, Costa grabbed his arms.
The competition committee banned Costa for four matches for the verbal abuse and another four for touching the referee.
"I think it's too much. I hope the sanction is reduced," Costa's teammate Thomas Partey said after Thursday's ruling.
"I didn't expect it would be so many matches, but they will have had their reasons," Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said. "They were committing many fouls against Diego and a moment comes in which you become enraged. But an insult is never justified."
The appeals panel said it found no grounds to adjust the ban.
"As for the sanctioned verbal manifestations, the images do not provide any indication of their non-existence or that their content differs from that reflected in the arbitration record," the appeal committee said.
"It can be seen how the sanctioned player grabs the arm of the referee, without it being clear that he did not do so with the intention of preventing him from showing yellow cards to his teammates," the committee added.
The committee also imposed a total of 6,010 euros ($6,778) in fines on Costa and another 2,800 euros on Atletico Madrid.
Barring a successful appeal to the administrative report, Costa will miss the rest of the current LaLiga campaign and the first match of next season.