It was quite an eventful Sunday for one of the world’s top soccer players, and now it’s going to cost him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended five games by the Royal Spanish Football Federation after receiving a red card and pushing a referee in the back during a match against Barcelona. According to the RFEF’s disciplinary code, Ronaldo is getting one of the lighter punishments possible.
“Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games,” says the code’s article 96, according to ESPN. A five-game banishment certainly comes on the lighter end of the scale here, and judging by the video of Ronaldo’s shove in the back, that seems to be fair.
Ronaldo was visibly displeased with being called for diving by referee De Burgos Bengoetxea, drawing a second yellow card penalty in the match and thus sending him off the pitch for the remainder of the game. This occurred just moments after Ronaldo had given Real Madrid a 2-1 lead. Instant replays seems to show Ronaldo may have actually been falling to the ground after some contact on the move, and arguably was not intentionally diving to draw the penalty.
Real Madrid can protest the call that led to the ejection of Ronaldo, and the video would seem to suggest they may have a fair case to make. How successful an appeal would be remains to be seen, and if Ronaldo were to win any appeal then the league would face criticism of potentially playing favorites for one of the game’s top draws.
But the bottom line is, you simply cannot lay hands on the ref, no matter how bad a call they may have made or how bad they are at their job. That is a golden rule in sports. If you violate it, then you suffer the consequences.