Novaretti suspended seven games for push on American referee

The Leon defender is set to miss out on seven more matches, meaning he was eligible for fewer than a quarter of the club's games this tournament.

Leon center back Diego Novaretti has been suspended for seven games - the remainder of the regular season - because of actions in a friendly against Santos Laguna during the international break, the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol's Disciplinary Committee announced Thursday. 

The Argentine already had missed six matches because of suspension this campaign for spitting at Pachuca winger Hirving Lozano, meaning he'll be out for 13 of 17 regular season matches this tournament.

In the March 22 friendly, Novaretti took issue with a penalty awarded when the ball appeared to hit the arm of a sliding Andres Andrade.

"He made a mistake, but they've said a lot of things that I can't understand, a bunch of false things that didn't happen," Leon coach Javier Torrente said before the suspension was handed down. "You have to recognize that he stopped. He made a mistake, you shouldn't touch the referee. But it's not aggression toward the referee."

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In the committee's eyes, the defender "tries to cut off the referee's path and grabs on to his arm" during the incident, putting him afoul of Article 17 Secton J of the sanctioning document.

Rosendo Mendoza, an American referee who has largely called NASL games, did not list Novaretti for aggression in his final report, the FMF announced. That's critical, as part of the reason Liga MX referees went on strike prior to round 10 of the league was to protest what they viewed as lax punishment for incidents reported as aggression toward officials.