Gerard Pique has landed himself in hot water with the Spanish football authorities after calling recent refereeing decisions against Barcelona into question.
The centre-back could feel the full force of both the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), according to Sport, for his comments about the officiating in Barcelona's first two games of 2017.
The CTA made their case to Judge of the Copa Del Rey, Francisco Rubio, before the RFEF appeal committee dealt with Pique's comments concerning the recent La Liga game between Barcelona and Villarreal.
Barcelona were beaten 2-1 in their Copa Del Rey round of 16 first-leg encounter with Athletic Bilbao last Wednesday - a match that Pique claims the Catalan giants should have had a penalty in -before they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Villarreal on Sunday.
In the aftermath of the stalemate at San Mames, ex-Manchester United defender Pique accused referee David Fernandez Borbalan of not handing Luis Enrique's men a spot kick for one of two contentious decisions, before suggesting that fierce rivals Real Madrid were getting the rub of the green with Spain's referees.
He said: "The penalty on Neymar was extremely clear and the one that Gorka [Iraizoz] did to me, too, but we know how this works already. And we saw what happened yesterday in Sevilla vs. [Real] Madrid. In line with what's happened recently. We want to play football and not roulette, which is what this refereeing causes."
Ernesto Valverde (Athletic Club coach): Gerard Pique's complaints about referees? "Everyone is free to say what they think is convenient."— Barça News Forum (@BarcaNewsForum) 11 January 2017
The 29-year-old followed those comments with a tirade of abuse, following the stalemate with Villarreal at El Madrigal, at La Liga boss Javier Tebas after match officials missed a blatant handball by El Submarino Amarillo defender Bruno.
After storming over to the stand where Tebas was housed, Pique pointed his finger at Tebas and shouted: “Did you see that? Yes you!”
Asked to clarify his behaviour after the game, Pique told the press: "The person to whom I said those words and made that gesture knows it was for them. I still believe in what I say and every week makes me more in the right.
"You could clearly see it, I think it's very clear what happened on the pitch. You have to be careful because they analyse everything. But let them analyse it [my comments] and waste time on that. That's their right."
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