RFEF takes no action on Pepe stamp
The Spanish FA (RFEF) has announced it will take no action against Real Madrid defender Pepe over his alleged stamp on the hand of Barcelona's Lionel Messi in last week's Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg.
Pepe was branded "shameful" and "embarrassing" in the Spanish press following the incident during a fiery El Clasico, which Barca won 2-1 at the Bernabeu, and the Madrid player later apologised for the coming together, although he insisted it was unintentional.
Real Madrid issued a statement on Saturday in which they said they would not punish Pepe, although the Portugal international did not feature in Sunday's 4-1 La Liga victory at home to Athletic Bilbao, and the RFEF decided to follow suit following a meeting on Monday.
The RFEF's decision means the Portuguese defender is free to play in this Wednesday's Copa del Rey return leg at the Nou Camp.
Although the incident was caught by television cameras, and footage appeared to show the defender looking down before treading on Messi's hand, it was missed by officials and the referee did not mention it in his match report.
After the match, Pepe said: "I wish to say the incident with Leo Messi was unintentional, but I nevertheless want to apologise to him if he was offended because all I do is defend my team and this institution. I give my heart and soul, and the thought of hurting a colleague has never entered my mind."
The RFEF's decision not to charge Pepe comes on the same day England's FA charged Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli with violent conduct following an incident in Sunday's Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur. Italian Balotelli appeared to stamp on the head of Spurs midfielder Scott Parker but the referee took no action.