Barcelona's Pique escapes punishment for saying referees support Real Madrid

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will not be punished by the Spanish Football Federation for comments he made that suggested referees favour Real Madrid because most Spanish officials are Real supporters.

The Spanish FA launched an investigation following Pique's claims during an interview he gave in February that Real Madrid's charge to last season's title had been aided by refereeing calls, describing the decisions as "the most grotesque thing I've ever seen in my life."

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After analysing whether the former Spain international had broken FA rules by questioning the honour or impartiality of referees, the Spanish FA's competition committee dismissed the case.

According to the ruling, "no offense was committed in this case" by Pique and the statements made by the player were interpreted by the judge as a "legitimate exercise of freedom of expression."

Pique, 34, was on the bench in Barcelona's 2-1 league defeat at Real Madrid on Saturday and complained to the referee Jesus Gil Manzano that only four minutes of stoppage-time were added in El Clasico.