City manager Pellegrini hit with European ban

LONDON Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:08pm IST

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts before their Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match against Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts before their Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match against Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England February 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been banned for three European matches for his comments about the referee after his side's Champions League defeat by Barcelona, UEFA said on Friday.

The Chilean, who questioned the impartiality of Swedish official Jonas Eriksson, will sit out two games with the other suspended for two years.

Pellegrini accused Eriksson of deciding the outcome of their 2-0 last-16 first-leg defeat on February 18.

He will be banned for the return leg against Barcelona on March 12.

"This means that Pellegrini may follow the game from the stands only; he may not enter the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before or during the match; and he may not communicate directly or indirectly with his players and/or technical staff during the game," UEFA said in a statement.

Pellegrini was charged with violating UEFA's general principles of conduct.

He apologised for his comments last week, but maintained Eriksson did play a role in the result.

City fell behind early in the second half when Eriksson awarded a penalty for a foul by Martin Demichelis on fellow Argentine Lionel Messi on the edge of the box and the defender was sent off.

There were suggestions a City player had been fouled before the incident.

The normally mild-mannered Pellegrini said in his post-match news conference: "The referee was not impartial. He did not have any control of the game."

He also said the referee should not have been in charge of Barcelona games as he was involved in a controversial match between the Spanish side and AC Milan in 2012.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Justin Palmer)

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