Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone was given a 3-game touchline ban by the Spanish FA’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday as the result of an incident which saw a second ball thrown onto the pitch during Atletico’s 1-0 win at home over Malaga on Saturday.
The ban means Simeone will not be able to sit in the dugout as his side end the season with games at home to Rayo Vallecano and Celta Vigo and away to Levante.
Atletico are second in the BBVA Primera Liga title race level of points with FC Barcelona and one point ahead of Real Madrid in third.
The incident happened as Malaga looked to launch a counter-attack in the must win game and a second ball was rolled into play from the Atletico technical area by a ball boy.
Referee Mateu Lahoz sent Simeone off for the incident, because as coach, he is responsible for what happens in the club’s technical area. “It’s clear that the referee made the right decision as per the regulations. He did what he had to do. There’s little more that can be said. The images will show it was a boy beside me, but that doesn’t mean anything,” commented the Atletico coach, who was later shown by YV replays to appear to tell the ball boy to roll the ball onto the pitch in an attempt to stop Malaga’s attack.
Simeone has been no stranger to controversy as either player or coach. Last season saw him start the season with a touchline ban, while as a player he became notorious in Spain for an off the ball incident which saw him stamp on Athletic Bilbao midfielder Julen Guerrero leaving his studmarks on the rival player’s thigh and causing him to bleed profusely.