24 Jan 2012

Pepe escapes punishment for alleged stamping

11:03 am on 24 January 2012

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) will take no action against Real Madrid defender Pepe for his alleged stamp on Barcelona forward Lionel Messi's hand in last week's King's Cup quarter-final first leg.

The RFEF announced the decision after a meeting overnight, meaning the Portuguese international is free to play in this Wednesday's return leg at the Nou Camp.

The 28-year-old Pepe, left out for Monday's 4-1 La Liga victory at home to Athletic Bilbao, denied intentionally treading on Messi's hand while the World Player of the Year was sitting on the floor although he was widely condemned in local media.

The RFEF's decision came the same day England's FA charged Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli with violent conduct following an incident in Monday'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.

The Pepe incident, caught from several different angles by television cameras, was apparently missed by officials and the referee did not mention it in his match report.