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Everyone in La Liga is Suffering at the Hands of the Referees

Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Before you point fingers, just hear me out.

It’s no secret that La Liga referees are, well, terrible.

For the past few seasons in particular, especially with the vast advancements to video technology and instant replay, their overwhelming level of incompetence has drawn constant attention. Perhaps the most vocal and concerned parties are Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Yes, decisions have gone Madrid’s way

There are an infinite number of examples that either team could use against the other. Penalty decisions, offsides, fouls, red cards… the list goes on. For every example of an incorrect call against Real Madrid there is a Barcelona equivalent.

Did you know? Thursday night Barcelona conceded their first penalty in La Liga in 78 games. Perhaps karma catching up to the Catalan side as there was no glaringly blatant foul — nonetheless it was a poor judgement from the referee costing Barcelona two points on the road.

The Whatboutism: Stop it

It happens every time.... When someone points out an incorrect decision it’s the enemy’s turn to refute. I see on Twitter almost every week, the pictures of: offsides lines with players clearly on/offsides, the goal-lines where balls clearly cross the line and the goal is not given, and crunching tackles not called for fouls. Then comes the ,“yeah, but what about when....” and the corresponding picture. This is an example of whataboutism.

Whataboutism is an appeal to hypocrisy. It attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument. Now while both Madridistas and Culés alike have cases for and against the one another for the inherent favoritism of refereeing decisions, BOTH teams have benefited and suffered from refereeing decisions.

While an analysis could be conducted evaluating refereeing decisions, the mere subjectivity of “a foul” or “obstruction” isn’t universal - for example a foul in La Liga is not necessarily a foul in the Premier League. In fact, my inspiration for this feature came from a FiveThirtyEight article analyses of officiating decisions in the NBA in the last two minutes of games where the score was within 3 points.

Yes, there have been decisions that helped and hurt title contenders, but the “smaller” La Liga teams suffer, too. I call on you, humble readers, to stop pointing fingers (at least at each other). Hope for change within La Liga.

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