Diego Simeone has slammed the 10-week ban given to Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier for betting violations, saying the club have been unfairly punished for something they had nothing to do with.
The 30-year-old was fined £70,000 and banned for 10 weeks, effective immediately, from all football-related activity worldwide.
He is now set to miss 12 games for Simeone’s side, including the Champions League last-16 first leg against Chelsea on February 23 and 12 league fixtures.
Trippier will return in time for the Madrid derby on March 7 and his ban will be over before England’s next scheduled international against San Marino on March 25.
He has been a vital part of Atletico’s side this season, playing every minute in La Liga and the Champions League.
Ahead of their final fixture of 2020 against Getafe on Wednesday Atletico are joint-top of La Liga, level on points with Real Madrid with two games in hand. Third-placed Real Sociedad are six points behind, having played three more games than Simeone’s men.
Now, however, the Argentine will be forced into a tactical rethink – and he believes those in charge at the FA should rethink their response too.
“We think it’s unfair and we hope it can be revised because of the damage done to Atletico,” Simeone told a press conference.
“Atletico obviously have absolutely nothing to do with this situation so we hope it can be re-assessed in some way, because while the FA benefits from this, Atletico is harmed by it and has nothing to do with it.
“But the circumstances are what they are and we’ll have to live with it.”
It has been a busy few days to end the year for Atletico, with the club having terminated the contract of forward Diego Costa ahead of the January transfer window.
The former Chelsea striker, now 32, had made only seven appearances this season and requested the club end his contract early. His deal had been set to expire at the end of the season.