Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski’s three-game suspension has been upheld, meaning he will miss Sunday’s LaLiga clash against Atletico Madrid.
Lewandowski, 34, was sent off against Osasuna in November and received a one-game ban for the dismissal and a further two matches for a gesture he made as he left the pitch.
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Barca appealed the sanction, and it was temporarily placed on hold pending resolution by a court in Madrid last Friday, allowing Lewandowski to play against Espanyol on Dec. 31 in what was the side’s first game after the World Cup break.
However, Spain’s Administrative Sports Court (TAD) ratified the suspension on Wednesday following several days of confusion and complaints from all parties involved.
A source at Barcelona told ESPN they will “respect the decision” and not take their appeal any further, given the option to pursue the matter in the ordinary courts, but stated their disappointment at what they consider an “excessive” ban.
Lewandowski will sit out Sunday’s game at Atletico and LaLiga fixtures against Getafe and Girona later in January.
However, the Polish striker will be available for the Spanish Supercopa semifinal against Real Betis in Saudi Arabia next week.
After picking up two yellow cards against Osasuna, Lewandowski touched his nose as he left the pitch in a gesture deemed to be critical of the referee, although he argued it was meant for his coach, Xavi Hernandez.
Xavi said the ban was “excessive,” and Barca appealed the punishment with several different bodies, leading to it being placed on hold until a final resolution was reached.
Despite having prepared without him during the week, Lewandowski played 90 minutes for Barca in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Espanyol at Camp Nou, which was due to be the first game of his ban.
After the match, Espanyol filed a report against Barca with the Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] for fielding an ineligible line-up due to Lewandowski’s presence.
That complaint is still being studied, but Xavi said on Tuesday in a news conference that Barca had “done what they had been informed they could do” by a court and are relaxed about the issue.
Xavi also said that he was hopeful of having Lewandowski available for Sunday’s game against Atletico, but he will now have to do without his top scorer, who has 18 goals in all competitions this season.
Barca sit top of LaLiga with 38 points, level with Real Madrid, and are 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid, who climbed into the top four last week with a 2-0 win over Elche.