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Football | Spain

Gerard Pique © Action Images

Pique cleared in referee spat



Spanish football authorities announced on Thursday they had cleared Barcelona defender Gerard Pique on a charge of accusing a referee of "premeditation" in handing him a red card, they said on Thursday.

"The competition committee has decided to close the complaint of the referees' committee against Pique," an official at the Spanish Football Federation told AFP on Thursday.

"The statements made by Barcelona on behalf of its player have been taken into account."

The federation had already banned Pique for one match and fined him €600 after he made the accusation against the referee of a match against Sporting Gijon on March 3.

The committee representing referees lodged a complaint against Pique over his comments targeting referee Velasco Carballo.

Barcelona sent the federation a letter defending the player, denying he had insulted the referee in his comments.

Pique was sent off for a foul on Miguel De Las Cuevas in the 47th minute of Barca's 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon.

"At halftime, I asked the referee why he hadn't given a penalty for a foul on (Barcelona teammate Seydou) Keita and he remembered it," said Pique after the match.

"I got the feeling that there was premeditation."

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