BARCELONA have fired another salvo in a dispute with Real Madrid and the Spanish football federation over the lifting of Real coach Jose Mourinho's two-match ban for poking then-Barca assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye.
The clash over the federation's move on Tuesday to exonerate Mourinho suggests the bad blood that has marred relations between the clubs in recent years is set to spill over into the 2012-13 season beginning next month.
"We are angry, we do not agree with the Spanish federation's decision," Barca spokesman Toni Freixa said yesterday. "We believe that an aggression like Mourinho's should not go unpunished," Freixa said, adding that the Portuguese's actions were "treacherous", "very serious" and had been "witnessed by the whole world".
Barca believe the federation's decision, part of a general amnesty for sanctioned players and coaches, damages the image of Spanish football and can only encourage further aggression.
Mourinho, a former Barca assistant coach, was initially banned after attacking Vilanova, who has since taken over as first-team coach from Pep Guardiola, from behind during a Super Cup match last August.
His punishment was rescinded by football federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar, who traditionally forgives some players and coaches after sealing re-election.
He was voted in unopposed for a seventh four-year term in February and his latest amnesty was announced at the RFEF's general assembly in Madrid on Tuesday.
Freixa said Barca had originally considered lodging a formal complaint against Mourinho but after consultation with players and coaching staff had decided to let the federation handle the case.
Now, after the lifting of the ban, Freixa said Barcelona had decided it wants a working group set up to examine the federation's disciplinary regime and Villar's amnesties.