Thursday 21 November 2019

El Clasico corruption storm as linesman told to 'favour Real Madrid' by ref during clash with Barcelona

Spanish football rocked by claim of bias towards Real Madrid
Spanish football rocked by claim of bias towards Real Madrid Newsdesk Newsdesk

A potential corruption storm has rocked Spanish football following reports that a linesman complained to anti-corruption authorities that he had been told to favour Real Madrid in next month's El Clasico... by the matchday referee.

The match officials for one of the most famous fixtures in world football have not yet been confirmed but it is understood one of the pre-designated linesmen for the fixture was contacted by the pre-designated referee who told him that the league's refereeing committee was putting pressure on the officials to favour Los Blancos.

In a court filing published by Spanish radio station COPE on Wednesday, the official, whose identity is to remain a secret for fear of reprisals, claims pressure from the committee was put on the senior referee who is expected to take charge of the match on Nov 21 to handle the game in a manner that would "prejudice the interests of one of the clubs involved, Barcelona".

It is alleged the referee in question then contacted the assistant ref to request he make the more difficult decisions in the match as 'the referee's performance is subject to more scrutiny by the media'.

In a further twist, the linesman alleges he also received a phone call from a senior member of the referees' committee advising him it would be "intelligent" to follow the instructions for the progression of his career once it was made clear that the assistant match official in question was not interested in following the alleged request.

Referees in Spain's top flight are normally allocated to matches little more than week before the games take place.

A dejected Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 25, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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