Disciplinary action against Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino seemed likely following his antics during a recent match against Real Sociedad, and it came on Wednesday in the form of a one-match suspension.
According to Dermot Corrigan of ESPNFC.com, Martino's ban stems from an outburst in the midst of Barca's 3-1 loss on Saturday. Martino reportedly called Sociedad assistant Txema Lumbreras an "idiot" in Argentine during an argument and was ultimately sent off for his troubles.
Barcelona released a statement regarding the suspension on their official website, and they agreed to comply with the ruling.
Gerardo Martino will not be allowed to sit on the bench, at the Camp Nou, this Sunday, for the game against Almeria, as he has been suspended for one match by the Competition Committee. It's worth remembering that the Argentinian coach was sent off at the half-time break in the League match against Real Sociedad, in Anoeta ... FC Barcelona will not appeal the ban to the Appeals Committee.
This suspension comes at an awful time for Martino and Blaugrana as they have dropped to second in the La Liga table, three points behind Real Madrid. Barca are also tied with Atletico Madrid, so their grip on league dominance is clearly slipping.
Barcelona's precipitous fall has led to whispers regarding Martino's future with the club, but superstar midfielder Andres Iniesta offered a vote of confidence, per Corrigan:
Iniesta says Barca players still 100% behind Tata Martino as local media say club has compiled list of successors: http://t.co/ccMkO8EdzQ— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 26, 2014
Iniesta admitted that there was plenty of blame to go around for the loss to Sociedad, but he expressed unwavering confidence in his manager, according to Goal.com.
The coach trusts the team to win and he always wants the best for his team, therefore, the players have no doubts regarding the coach. On the contrary, we are with him to death ... We played really well in the matches leading up to this weekend, but the defeat to Real Sociedad was tough. The players and the coach are, in the end, responsible for everything.
Iniesta and his teammates will have an opportunity to show unity in support of Martino when they take on Almeria in what feels like a must-win match considering how well Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been playing as of late.
Is this a fair suspension?
Martino won't be present to guide his team, but the match will still very much have Martino's fingerprints all over it.
He is responsible for the preparation, and it will reflect poorly upon him if the club doesn't come through with a good result regardless of who serves as manager during the match.
As far as the suspension is concerned, it's difficult to argue with the decision. A one-match ban isn't excessive by any means, and Martino should be happy that he didn't receive a longer suspension than that.
He let his temper get the best of him and made a mockery of the match. If nothing else, this suspension should cause him to think twice moving forward.
If an outburst like that should occur again, however, it could very well accelerate an exit that may come anyway depending upon how Barca perform down the stretch.
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