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Spanish Referee Protest Backfires

  • Reuters, Friday, May 18, 2007 4:45 PM
In protest of the Spanish soccer federation's system for revising referee decisions on appeal, referees in Spain's La Liga refused to detail why players were issued yellow cards in their match reports last weekend. Instead, they wrote "unsporting behavior" for each offense.

As a result, 13 La Liga players will avoid suspension and compete in matches this weekend after the league waived those yellow cards issued without a clear reason. "Our rules oblige them to describe what the player has done," RFEF competition committee president Alfredo Florez told sports daily Marca on Friday. "I think the referees have done this to complain because they think we meddle in their work and undermine their authority."

Clearly. Referees, players and coaches were outraged following the reversal of David Beckham's yellow card against Athletic Bilbao three weeks ago. He was handed a fifth accumulated caution, meaning he would be suspended for the next match, but Real appealed the decision and the league pardoned the caution so he could play in the crucial match against Sevilla the weekend after. "They re-referee games sitting on a sofa with a video. It is very easy to referee on the television, but it shows a lack of respect toward our work," one match official, who did not want to be named, told daily El Pais on Friday.

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