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Sporting Gijon coach Ruben Baraja gets four-match ban for touchline interference

Sporting Gijon coach Ruben Baraja has been banned four games by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) as punishment for holding back a Barcelona B player during a Segunda Division game on Saturday.

Baraja will miss Sporting's final three league games -- Friday's clash at Tenerife, as well as matches against Granada and Cordoba -- and a further game.

A star at Valencia in his playing days, Baraja was sent off after the action. He apologised after the game for preventing Barcelona B right-back Sergio Palencia from taking a throw-in during his team's 3-2 home defeat.

The RFEF on Wednesday evening announced the punishment, which is the minimum for breaching article 100 of its disciplinary code -- a conduct considered grave and going against good sporting order.

Baraja took over the Gijon-based club in December and steered the side to victories in all of its home games before Saturday's loss.

The ban is a blow for Sporting, who are fighting to return to La Liga after being demoted in the 2016-17 campaign.

Sporting are third in the table, four points adrift of second-place Huesca and five behind leaders Rayo Vallecano with nine points still up for grabs. The top two teams gain automatic promotion to La Liga while the final promotion spot is decided by a playoff.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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