Javier Tebas Says Gerard Pique Could Be Punished for Espanyol Goal Celebration

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 04:  Gerard Pique of Barcelona celebrates after scoring a goal during the La Liga match between Espanyol and Barcelona at Nuevo Estadio de Cornella-El Prat on February 4, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

La Liga President Javier Tebas has said Barcelona defender Gerard Pique could be punished for shushing Espanyol's fans in their 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Per Sport, Tebas said: "The committee will rule if the gesture is punishable, but we will take it to them for them to make a decision. The regulations make it possible that certain ways of celebrating goals can be considered a provocation."

Pique made the gesture after he headed home the equaliser at the RCDE Stadium to salvage a point for the Blaugrana against their bitter rivals.

ESPN's Samuel Marsden believes the celebration was warranted:

The centre-back has a long history with Espanyol, and some of their supporters often direct insults at his family; his wife Shakira and his son, Milan.

According to Marca, in January 2016, Espanyol fans held up a banner during the Catalan derby that read: "We all love a bit of Shakira."

Per Grup 14's Rafael Hernandez, his son has also been threatened:

Pique has hit out at the club for not doing enough to curb such behaviour.

Per Marca's Mari Carmen Torres, Espanyol issued a €24,002 fine to the fans responsible for the banner aimed at Shakira, while chief executive Joan Collet said the club "deeply regret and do not share the expressions of those fans, both in terms of chants and banners."

According to Tebas, Los Periquitos supporters had been relatively civil towards the 31-year-old prior to his celebration on Sunday:

"We have to highlight the fact Espanyol worked well and until that moment, Pique's goal, there was not a single insult aimed at Pique's family, which is something La Liga was worried about.

"His provocative gesture made the fans react and come out with intolerable insults.

"It's been done [the celebration] before but on few occasions has it generated widespread irritation. We should avoid celebrations that irritate people."

A ban would seem harsh on Pique, particularly after Cristiano Ronaldo was similarly investigated for his "calm down" celebration at the Camp Nou in 2015 but appeared to escape sanction of any kind.

The defender might be out of action anyway, though, after he suffered a knee injury in the match.

Pique was the subject of a heavy and unnecessary challenge from Gerard Moreno after he scored, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:

Amador Bernabeu, his grandfather, told El Transistor (h/t Marca) he could be out for eight to 10 days as a result.

The injury could therefore keep him sidelined for the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg with Valencia on Thursday and Sunday's clash with Getafe.  

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