Diego Simeone banned for Atletico Madrid's final La Liga matches

MADRID (AP) — Spain's soccer federation has rejected Atletico Madrid's appeal against the three-match ban imposed on coach Diego Simeone.

Simeone was sent off at halftime of last Saturday's 1-0 win over Malaga after someone threw a second ball onto the field.

According to the game's regulations, the coach is held responsible if the perpetrator is not identified.

In its finding Wednesday, the federation's competition committee said the club had failed to identify anyone and that "it has been established that the ball came from the area of Atletico's bench."

Simeone will now have to watch the final three La Liga matches from the stands. Atletico Madrid faces Rayo Vallecano, Levante and Celta Vigo as it attempts to claim the title in a three-team race with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Barcelona is level with Atletico Madrid on points but holds the tiebreaker between the two, while Real Madrid is a point behind both.

Simeone was also fined 3,005 euros ($3,400) and the club 1,050 euros. The committee said Atletico can lodge an appeal to try to reduce the punishment.

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