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Football Reporting


‘They can make you a problem’ – Barcelona boss Koeman scolds Pique for referee criticism after investigation opened

The Blaugrana coach admitted that the veteran centre-back’s comments will give him a headache if the Royal Spanish Football Federation sanction him

Ronald Koeman has chided Gerard Pique for his comments over alleged pro-Real Madrid biases among the country’s match officials after it was confirmed that the defender was under investigation.

The veteran centre-back’s claims are to be examined by the Royal Spanish Football Federation to ascertain whether he broke the organisation’s rules on honouring impartial respect for referees.

If found guilty, the Blaugrana veteran could face a significant ban, handing a further blow to Koeman’s team as they continue to face struggles in both domestic and European competition.

What’s been said

Earlier this month, Pique generated headlines when he suggested that the majority of match officials in La Liga harbour a subconscious bias towards Madrid-based clubs as they hail from the region.

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“The other day a former referee said that 85 per cent of the referees are from Madrid,” Pique said in an interview with  Post United .

“How are they not going to whistle in favour of Madrid? Even unconsciously, how are they not going to give more for one side than the other?

“I respect the professionalism of the referees and I know they try to do their best job, but when a moment of doubt comes…”

Koeman’s frustrated response

With the news that the RFEF have opened an investigation into the centre-back now, Koeman indirectly admonished the former Manchester United man in his pre-match press conference ahead of Barca’s top-flight clash with Alaves.

“It’s my problem if they sanction because of these statements,” the ex-Netherlands supremo stated , before adding, “but he has enough experience to say what he wants.

“But you have to take care because, [even] with little [pushback], they can make you a problem. If you have to criticize, do so with respect so they can’t do anything to you.”

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Koeman meanwhile refused to be drawn on matters concerning next week’s Champions League last-16 encounter with Paris Saint-Germain, stressing that every match is vital in his eyes.

“Tomorrow’s game is more important than PSG [right now],” he added. “We’re going game by game and it’s important to win before Tuesday’s game.”

Further Reading

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