Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has been suspended for eight matches, following his sending off against Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
The Argentine manager was forced to leave after protesting the referee’s decision not to allow Juanfran back onto the pitch after receiving treatment for a cut lip. In his frustration, Simeone slapped the fourth official on the back of the head, which prompted his sending off.
Simeone was banned for four matches for tapping the back of the linesman’s head, two matches for protesting, one match for sarcastically applauding his sending-off and one match for remaining in the stands instead of leaving the stadium after his dismissal.
The severity of this recent punishment is most probably a reaction to Simeone’s clear inability to ameliorate his behaviour after the first ban, which has proved ineffective. The 44-year-old boss is serving a European touchline suspension after an altercation with Raphael Varane during his side’s Champions League bout the Real Madrid.
In the eyes of the Spanish football federation, he has shown a blatant disregard for both the rules and the powers at be and has paid a heavy price.
Moreover, football’s governing bodies tend to be strict when it comes to abuse of officials in any form. Hence the four match ban for the pat on the head and the further match suspension for sarcastic clapping.
It is more an explanation as opposed to a justification of the discrepancy regarding bans handed out by the federation. Jose Mourinho, for example, was only banned for two games for his eye gouge on Tito Vilanova during his time as Real Madrid boss, while Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo have escaped retrospective punishment for attacks on Mario Mandzukic and Diego Godin in the Super Cup. Such selective punishment fuels claims of Real Madrid and Barcelona bias.
The eight match ban will see him miss both La Liga and Copa Del Rey matches, including the Madrid derby against Real Madrid on 13th September.
Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo has stated that they will look to appeal the ban, but in the meantime, Simeone was forced to sit in the stands and leave assistant Germán Burgos in charge against Rayo Vallecano.
"We’ll try to find the best way to communicate. Germán has the capacity and confidence," Simeone said before the match. “It gives me peace of mind that we understand football in the same way. He will sit on the bench and I will see it from another place."
His side appeared to miss his leadership, unable to find their way past their neighbours on Monday, as they stuttered to a goalless draw.