Barcelona's Javier Mascherano Gets Two-match Ban, Available For Clasico

Barcelona star Javier Mascherano will be available for November’s Clasico at Real Madrid, after La Liga authorities banned him for two games for directing an insult at an assistant referee during Sunday’s 3-1 La Liga win at home to Eibar at the Camp Nou.

After Mascherano was sent off by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande late in the match, a debate began in Catalonia and Madrid over the precise words used by the Argentina international, with TV pictures appearing to show he had actually used the word “sister” while the official match report said he had used the word “mother.”

Leading Barcelona figures also claimed that Mascherano had just been shouting in frustration, not aiming an insult at anyone in particular, while La Liga president Javier Tebas publicly suggested before the disciplinary committee met that it would be a shame for the player to miss such a big game for this reason.

Mascherano could have been banned for four games, including Nov. 21’s Clasico at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

However, it has been decided that his comments were just a “belittling” of the linesman — an offence which carries a two-match punishment, and means the player will have to sit out coming La Liga fixtures at Getafe and at home to Villarreal.

The RFEF confirmed in its written reasons for the ban that it used a precedent from 2013, when Elche defender Damian Suarez was also given a two-game ban for using the same words in a Segunda Division clash with Barca B.

Blaugrana defender Gerard Pique was sidelined for four games earlier this season after he was found guilty of insulting an assistant referee during August’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey last-32 first leg at third-tier Villanovense, Barca coach Luis Enrique has denied that his team behave worse towards match officials than any other side.

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