Soccer-Koeman touchline ban upheld, misses Atletico game

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FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal v FC Barcelona
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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman will be absent from the touchline for Saturday's crunch game at home to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid after the Spanish soccer federation on Wednesday rejected the club's appeal against a touchline ban.

Koeman was sent off in his side's 2-1 home defeat by Granada on April 29 for saying "what a character" to the fourth official after being warned about his conduct.

He was given an automatic one-game ban which was then extended to two matches by the federation's competition committee.

A statement by the competition committee said Koeman had been suspended for violating article 117 of the disciplinary code, which is described as 'showing an attitude of disrespect towards referees, directors or sporting authorities'.

The Dutchman was absent for Sunday's 3-2 win at Valencia which kept his side two points behind Atletico and will also miss the game against the leaders at the Camp Nou. His assistant Alfred Schreuder is set to take charge of the team again.

Barca are third in the standings on 74 points with four games remaining and will leapfrog Atletico if they win on Saturday.

Real Madrid, in second on 74 points due to their superior head-to-head record, host fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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