I thought we were beyond this, but I guess not. So here goes, another rant about the men with Wu-Tang symbols on their arms…
They may not be your friends, but they are also not your enemies. At best, they are a neutral force that disappears into the recesses of your mind to the point where you can’t even remember that there was one. Like with Pierluigi Collina, except he looked like a cross between Gollum and Sam Cassell so it was impossible not to notice him. But he always reffed properly: from the shadows, as if (imagine this) he wasn’t actually an actor in the game, but rather an adjudicator when there was no other option.
In Spain, that is rarely the case. Refs yell at players and puff out their chests. They blow their whistle and ostentatiously strut to the spot of the foul. They whip out cards with flourishes I would expect at a bullfight (I do cultural references so well, you guys). They are, in short, involving themselves in the drama that is the sporting event rather than playing their part and moving on. We know their names because we think of them as being on the field.
But they are not corrupt. They are not biased. That should be stated in the clearest language. In a comment on a previous thread, Ramzi wrote, “When I reach a conclusion that there is certainly a conspiracy, I stop watching the Liga. Not just for the seasons Barça lose, but forever as it doesn’t make sense to keep watching [if it’s corrupt].”
It’s a wonderful point. If you think the refs are biased, if they’re corrupt, if they’re handing the league title to Madrid, then either take it to criminal court or stop watching. If you think that the offside call against Alexis Sanchez in the Osasuna match that disallowed what would have been the tying goal was deliberate, then RFEF should be receiving your petition shortly and we’re all suckers in this pro wrestling event.
The specifics of that call are clear: Sergi Roberto was adjudged to have touched the ball on its way to Alexis Sanchez who was, at the time Sergi Roberto was adjudged to have touched the ball, in an offside position. I watched the replays of it this morning, having missed the match, and, knowing going in that Sergi Roberto did not touch the ball, I thought it was fairly clear that he touched it on his way through. Assuming that that was the call made on the field, it was the correct call from the linesman’s perspective. It looked like he touched it!
The same linesman is the one who blew the call leading to the 2-0, of course, so you can let your conspiracies go onward, I suppose. I think it’s fair to point out that the calls haven’t been favorable to Barça this year over the whole of the season, yet to suggest that also suggests that they should be favorable. They shouldn’t be favorable. They should be correct, yes, that is for sure, and I think RFEF has a long way to go before they have good refs, but to suggest that these refs are intentionally biased is not only foolish at the moment, but will bite you in the bum in the future the instant a wrong call goes your way.
I’ll be clear: I think complaining about referees is acceptable, so long as you say what they did wrong, not why they did it incorrectly. Until you can show that Ref X is related to Florentino Perez or received a large bank transfer the night before a match, you should lay off the conspiracy. It won’t get you anywhere. As it is, Barça has all of the advantages (money, representation, power) and few, if any, disadvantages. It is fair to say that Madrid have benefited from lenient reffing, but that leniency has been systematic throughout the year and Barça simply do not play that tough, boot-in-first-ask-questions later way.
It is fair to say that Madrid have benefited from poor reffing decisions such as the offside call against Mallorca when the player was on his own half, but it would also be fair to point out that Robin van Persie was sent off for an innocuous kick of the ball in the Champions League last year. It would also be fair to point out that the referee got it wrong just a few days ago when Pinto clearly handled the ball outside of the box in the Copa del Rey match against Valencia.
Kevin wrote in a comment: “Because if [Barça’s system] was working the way that it was supposed to, we would be leading the table, looking forward to maintaining position and doing the deed in the coming home Clasic. But none of that happened now, did it? It’s easy to blame other folks, but it’s all on us. All of it.”
Well said. Now enjoy your Champions League matchday. It should be a good one.