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Costa banned for eight matches


Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been banned for eight games after he was sent off for insulting referee Jesus Gil Manzano’s mother in last Saturday’s defeat to Barcelona.

Costa was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute of the match after he approached Gil Manzano in the middle of the pitch and shouted in his face. The details of his outburst were included the referee’s report following the game and the audio of the incident was reviewed by the league’s refereeing committee.

Atletico Madrid have 10 days to appeal the ban and sources have told ESPN FC they will do so. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sanctioned Costa four matches for his comments to the referee and added another four matches of sanction after Costa was seen grabbing Gil Manzano’s arm after the red card was shown.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said on Thursday that while he understood Costa’s frustrations with La Liga officiating, he felt that insulting a referee is never a wise practice.

“Those are the rules, insulting a referee warrants a ban between four and eight matches. We will have to see whether they consider our appeal and what will happen. I think that in our appeal we will be able to make the defence we wish to make,” Cerezo told reporters on Thursday. “I did not expect it to a ban for so many matches. But if that is the decision they reached, well, they must have their reasons. It is a shame because each player has a different temperament on the pitch. Diego was getting fouled a lot and I guess you just reach the moment when you have to get angry. But an insult [to the ref] is never justified.

If the suspension holds, the Spanish international will miss the rest of the season as Atletico only have seven La Liga fixtures remaining. Last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to title rivals Barcelona left Diego Simeone’s side 11 points adrift of the league leaders, while Atletico have also been eliminated from the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

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