Porto defender Pepe faces a ban of two years from football amid accusations that he hid a bullet during Friday night’s crunch Portuguese league clash against Sporting Lisbon.
The tetchy match ended in a remarkable 40-man brawl as players, staff, stewards and even ball boys got involved as tensions boiled over.
Referee Joao Pinheiro responded to the chaos by showing red cards to two players from each side, while former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates had already been dismissed for two yellow cards.
Pepe and Agustin Marchesin saw red for Porto while Sporting pair Tabata and Joao Palhinha were also shown red for their parts in the brawl.
Former Real Madrid defender Pepe was the highest profile individual involved in the incident and the talismanic player has built up a reputation of winding up his opponents and being disciplined.
Friday night was the 13 th red card of the player’s career but it was his first since returning to Porto in 2019 and his first in a league match for any club since 2011 – over a decade.
Yet his good behaviour disappeared after the final whistle blew, as players and club staff were involved in a mass brawl with referee Pinheiro attempting to keep things under control.
Pepe is now facing a ban from football which could be as long as two years after A Bola reported accusations that he kicked a director from Sporting, which equates to committing an act of violent conduct.
Should Pepe be punished for the incident, his ban from playing could range from two months to two years – as outlined by the Disciplinary Regulation of the League of Clubs which, in article 145 states that Pepe’s actions were a ‘very serious disciplinary offence’.
The director in question is not mentioned, but Pepe saw the red card from the referee when he was involved in an argument with Hugo Viana.
Pepe will celebrate his 39 th birthday this month and a lengthy ban could effectively finish his playing career at this level.