Tuesday 10 July 2012
Last Update 10 July 2012 8:19 pm
MADRID: Barcelona have protested angrily against the Spanish football federation’s decision to lift a two-match ban given to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for poking Barca assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye last season.
With more than a month to go until the start of the 2012-13 La Liga campaign, bad blood has already boiled up between the bitter rivals.
Barca spokesman Toni Freixa said Mourinho’s exoneration, part of a general amnesty for sanctioned players and coaches, damaged the image of Spanish football and would only encourage further aggression.
The volatile Portuguese was punished after attacking Vilanova, who has since taken over as first-team coach from Pep Guardiola, from behind during a Super Cup match.
However, the ban was rescinded by football federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar, who traditionally exonerates some players and coaches after sealing re-election.
He was voted in unopposed for a seventh four-year term in February and his latest amnesty was announced at the RFEF’s general assembly in Madrid earlier yesterday.
Freixa said Barca president Sandro Rosell had expressed the club’s displeasure at the prospect of Mourinho’s ban being lifted at a federation board meeting on Monday.
“As we understand it, an aggression toward a coach deserves punishment,” Freixa said on Barca’s website (www.fcbarcelona.com).
“This decision does not mean the aggressor is innocent, but leads them to believe that they can continue to attack people without fear of punishment,” he added.
“It’s a bad example for Spanish football that this aggression is going unpunished.”
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