Real Madrid chief calls for major changes to La Liga refereeing
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says Cristiano Ronaldo's recent sending off in the Spanish Super Cup shows that the system of appointing and appraising match officials in La Liga needs an overhaul.
During the first leg at Camp Nou, Ronaldo was controversially shown a second yellow card for diving by referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea, who was taking charge of his first Clasico. The Portugal international then pushed the official and was subsequently handed a five-match ban.
Madrid made their upset at the decision clear, appealing the suspension as far as they could without success, and Perez told "El Larguero" radio show that De Burgos Bengoetxea's performance showed that the standard of refereeing in Spain must be improved.
"With everyone around the world watching the game, it does not make sense that we end up talking about the referee's performance," he said. "The whole [refereeing] establishment can clearly be improved.
"There are times when the officials are not up to the standard of a Madrid-Barca [game]. I am saying this without taking sides. We must work on this. Everyone who makes mistakes should be punished, including the referee."
Nuestra portada de hoy: Florentino arremete contra los árbitros pic.twitter.com/wzDpH30oiC— AS (@diarioas) September 8, 2017
Perez is a known critic of long-serving referees chief Victoriano Sanchez Arminio, who is an associate of Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar.
Reports have claimed that Madrid are now applying pressure to get the system of appointing and managing La Liga referees changed, amid chaos at the federation with Villar currently refusing to step down from his position, despite being arrested and charged with a number of serious corruption charges earlier this summer.
Perez said he was asking for more transparency in how referees were promoted and judged, and was also in favour of the use of VAR technology in La Liga, something which Sanchez Arminio has opposed in the past.
"The justice system for referees should be transparent," Perez said. "How do referees get promoted? How are they judged? There is a lot of mystery here, and we are in a moment where we can improve. And the issue of VAR is fundamental. That would take away the discretion that referees have.
"I am in favour of technology, no doubt, as in all sports. I don't want to take on Villar. I have not had a bad relationship with him, but this is a moment to have more transparency in football. Transparency and technology are good for football. Put experienced referees in big games, not inexperienced referees."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan