Ernesto Valverde faces a bit of a defensive headache for the top-of-the-table clash at Valencia on Sunday after the Spanish Football Federation’s disciplinary committee threw out an appeal against Gerard Piqué’s one-game ban for accumulation of yellow cards.
The Barça defender picked up a fifth caution of the season last weekend at Leganés for a shirt pull on Nordin Amrabat. After the decision on Tuesday, Barcelona can take their case to the RFEF appeals committee and, if that bears no fruit, ultimately to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Barça called for sacking of RFEF official for referendum comments
Coincidentally, the president of the disciplinary committee that ruled on Tuesday was Francisco Rubio, who faced calls to be sacked from the Camp Nou board for comments he had made regarding the Catalonian independence referendum on October 1.
If further appeals against Piqué’s ban fail, Valverde will be left with just two senior central defenders, Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, for the trip to second-placed Mestalla with Javier Mascherano out with a hamstring injury.