Madrid - Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has denied using abusive language towards a linesman that saw him sent-off in his side's Spanish Super Cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao and could see him banned for the first four La Liga games of the season.
Pique was shown a straight red card in the second leg of the tie on Monday, which ended 1-1, for taking his protests towards the linesman too far as Barca failed to overcome a 4-0 first leg deficit.
"I want to apologise because the attitude with which I protested to the linesman wasn't correct," he wrote on his official Twitter account.
"It was a game of great tension in which we were playing for a lot.
"However, at no moment did I use any type of insult towards him."
According to the referee's report Pique seriously insulted the linesman.
However, Barcelona have challenged that view of events and lodged an appeal against the red card.
"FC Barcelona has presented on Tuesday an appeal against the red card shown to Gerard Pique in the 58th minute of the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Club," they said in a statement.
"In the appeal we wanted to make clear that the player did not address the assistant referee in the terms written afterwards by the referee Velasco Carballo in the referee's report."
In previous cases the insult Pique is alleged to have used has resulted in a four-game ban.
Should he be punished similarly, the Spanish international would miss trips to Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid as well as home games against Malaga and Levante in La Liga.
Spanish football's disciplinary committee will meet on Wednesday to decide Pique's fate.