By Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden
Espanyol are facing possible punishment after La Liga asked for abuse aimed at Barcelona, Gerard Pique and his partner Shakira during last weekend’s Catalan derby to be looked into.
La Liga sent a report to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) this week which detailed 13 separate occasions when Espanyol supporters breached the league’s anti-violence rules during the 2-2 draw.
As well as Pique and his family, there were also offensive chants aimed at Barca striker Luis Suarez. The RFEF must now decide what measure to take against Espanyol, with the most likely outcome a fine.
The fraught relationship between Espanyol and Pique has been a theme in recent derbies. Espanyol were fined €24,000 in 2016 after unveiling an insulting banner about Colombian singer Shakira, who is married to Pique.
The defender then wound up Espanyol supporters in 2018 by saying the club was from Cornella, an area on the outskirts of Barcelona, rather than the city of Barcelona itself.
That tension has often spilled into other elements of the fixture. In 2016, racist chants were allegedly aimed at Neymar, while Suarez was banned for two games following a clash in the Camp Nou tunnel with Espanyol players.
Last Saturday’s derby between Barca B and Espanyol B in Spain’s third tier also experienced problems.
Barcelona confirmed earlier this week that 25 of their supporters were kicked out of the game for “utterly unacceptable shouts and chants.” They are working with local police to identify the individuals and ban them from attending future matches.