It’s time to leave la Liga’s refs alone

Now, La Liga Loca has no idea if it all stems from a post-Franco distrust of authority figures or the persistent culture of blame-shifting, finger-pointing and responsibility-dodging.

But Spain has an obsession with putting the boot into their referees, who seem to be the cause of all ills in the world.

Indeed, Marca employs its own (ex) official who pulls apart his former colleagues decisions every week - which must make him immensely popular at reunions - whilst awarding Real Madrid 17 non-existent penalties and sending off most of the opposition.

Last weekend, it was just the three Espanyol players who should have seen red, says Rafa Guerrero.

“He had a first half to forget” tutted Marca’s man-in-the-middle on Alfonso Pérez Burrull’s performance in Madrid’s 3-0 win over Espanyol.

This love of picking apart the work of referees sees Tuesday’s AS getting their panties in an almighty bunch over the impressive total of nine red cards that were issued during last weekend’s round of action in la Primera.

In a peculiar editorial, the paper’s boss Alfredo Relaño goes all postal on the a**es of the league’s officials and complains that someone refereeing their top flight debut - as happened in the Racing vs Atlético clash - should not have done so because the previous encounter between the two teams a few days before was a bit controversial.

“It is tough being a referee,” concedes Relaño before suggesting that clubs could perhaps vote on whether individual referees are any good (an action that would quickly thin the arbitrating ranks a tad) with “the referees that nobody likes” being dropped.

These are interesting - some would say curious notions - from the chief AS at the paper and an understandable reaction to last weekend’s red-card rain storm, which at first glance looks excessive.

However, there’s one thing missing from Relaño’s mini-thesis.

Every single one of the nine expulsions from those 10 games was completely justified, despite what fans, managers and the press on the receiving end of them say.

And here’s why:

Barcelona vs Getafe

Piqué - Whacked Rafa in the knee with a clumsy, late, dangerous challenge.
Marquez - Pulled Kepa down in the box in a dangerous play. Barcelona will not be appealing either red card.

Málaga vs Deportivo

Pablo Alvarez - one yellow for deliberate handball, one for an alleged dive which was a 50/50 call. The midfielder would not have walked had he not been such a buffoon over the first incident (see Ronaldo vs Almería).

Almería vs Sporting

Chico - direct red for handball after saving a goal-line shot.
Barral - a red for a nasty flying elbow.
Gregory - red card for picking on a ball boy, apparently. Which doesn’t sound very nice.

Zaragoza vs Sevilla

Alvaro Negredo - was in a foul, niggly mood all match and eventually went for kicking out at Contini in a huff.
Stankevicius - another player who went nuts with a ridiculous late tackle.
Colunga - Two yellow cards, the first of which for a stupid, needless tackle from behind on Jesus Navas in the dying seconds of the game.

The only debatable call from those was the second yellow for Alvarez. The rest were all perfectly fine.

And that leaves La Liga Loca a little mystified as to what Relaño’s point is in Tuesday’s rant.

Mistakes are made, of course - his paper makes them every minute of every day - but more often that not they stem from players being cheeky little cheats (yes, you Xavi against Espanyol).

Marca are already criticising the referee from Sunday’s key clash between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona some five days before the match actually kicks off.

“Iturralde is the ref,” blasts a headline in Tuesday’s edition “a guarantee for Barcelona.”

It then states that this particular official has officiated clashes with the Camp Nou club on 30 occasions with Barça winning 20 of the games.

The article also notes that in these clashes 84 yellows and nine reds have been handed to those sides playing the Dream Boys, with Barcelona themselves picking up just 53 yellows and four reds.

La Liga Loca would reply to Marca that with Barcelona having been fairly strong in recent seasons, all referees would have overseen a majority of wins for the Catalan club. But it doubts the paper is listening.

But this is par for the course for a rag overseen by the pea-brained Eduardo Inda, an editor who has scrawled a double-page long “letter” to Pep Guardiola castigating him for commenting on the Madrid media campaign against his side in regards to being helped by refs.

“It’s undeniable that there should only be a one point advantage over the Whites,” complains Marca’s main man whilst talking of the “scientific certification” by his paper of this universal truth.

“I am aware that you will never respond to this as the divine never mix with mere mortals,” is the charming sign-off.

The immediate reaction to such poppycock from La Liga Loca is to wonder if the legal defence of extreme provocation would work were the blog to drop a piano on Inda’s empty head as he goes about his day.

One average day, two papers and two editorials which say an awful lot in regards to the sorry (but highly entertaining, nonetheless) state of Spain’s football writing.

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