Barcelona's World Cup winning midfielder Andres Iniesta could be banned for the Champions League first-leg against Real Madrid if he is found guilty of deliberately getting a yellow card in the quarterfinal first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Getting booked in the first leg against Shakhtar meant Iniesta would miss the second leg, thereby having a clean-slate in the semifinals. Iniesta saw the card for not retreating the required distance when Shakhtar had a free kick. At that point, the Catalans were winning 5-1 and the tie was well over.
UEFA's disciplinary committee will hold a meeting to come to a conclusion on the case of Iniesta who has been charged for improper conduct.'' If found guilty, Iniesta will miss the first leg against Madrid.
However, Barcelona have appealed against the proposed suspension and said in a statement, The proposed sanction comes as a result of a report from UEFA match officials at the game, who have alleged that the yellow card was deliberately incurred so that the player would be suspended for the return leg.
Barcelona believe that the arguments outlined in their appeal, based on the good faith of the player and the disproportionate nature of the proposed sanction will be sufficient to rebut these allegations.''
Earlier in the tournament, Barca's semifinal opponents Real Madrid had their manager and two players fined for the same offence. In the penultimate game of the group stages, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos deliberately got carded so as to have a clean slate for the knock-out rounds as they would be suspended for the dead-rubber against Auxerre. After being found guilty, the two players received fines of £16,700 and their manager Jose Mourinho was banned for two games with one suspended though it was later reduced to match on appeal.
Last week, after Iniesta had served out his suspension, Mourinho adamantly suggested that his team was being targeted.
He said, Maybe you have to find a reason why Mourinho cannot clean yellow cards and other coaches can. To be honest, as I always am, when we scored the fourth goal against Tottenham at the Bernabeu, my assistant told me, 'Yellow card to Cristiano Ronaldo and to Ricardo Carvalho'.
And I told him, 'No way, because, if we do it, I am suspended for the semi-finals and my players are suspended for the semi-finals'. The next day, we are at home. Another coach did it, another player did it.