The Spanish radio show Jijantes has published a leaked audio conversation between the VAR official Hernandez Hernandez and the on-pitch referee Hernandez Maeso during the controversial Real Madrid vs Almeria match on Sunday.
The audio reveals that Hernandez Hernandez advised Hernandez Maeso to review a possible foul by Almeria’s Chumi on Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos. The incident, which happened off the ball during an Almeria counter-attack, was not caught on television, but was captured by a fan in the stands:
How did the referee have a close up view of so many incidents yet not make the call?pic.twitter.com/Nd22Y7zPdn— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) January 23, 2024
In the audio, Hernandez Maeso can be heard saying: “I haven’t seen anything, he’s already up.” Hernandez Hernandez, then in the VAR room after checking the incident, says “Continue, continue, continue... The 21st stops in front of Ceballos to prevent him from advancing, there is no elbow, there is no arm, there is nothing.”
This decision was somehow one of least controversial calls from that game against Almeria, who were leading 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals from Largie Ramazani and Edgar Gonzalez. In the second half, Real Madrid were awarded a penalty for a handball by Kaiky Fernandes. Jude Bellingham converted the spot kick to make it 2-1. Then, Almeria had a goal disallowed for a foul on Jude Bellingham, who was struck in the face. Vinicius Junior equalized for Real Madrid in the 67th minute — a goal which was originally not allowed due to a handball but the overturned when replays showed it came off the Brazilian’s shoulder. To cap off a dramatic night, Dani Carvajal scored the winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time.
“Barcelona Twitter accounts?! Let’s look them up for an objective analysis ” — @kiyanso on the @managingmadrid podcast says the outrage and hysteria after the Real Madrid - Almeria game wasn’t logical. pic.twitter.com/90k4BQcExK— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) January 23, 2024
This was not the only audio leak from the game. Earlier today, a leak revealed the discussion on another off-ball incident from the same match, when Vinicius hits Pozo.
“Possible foul in attack, I want to see it, a little further back. Phew, I want to see it in the short, eh,” Hernández Hernández said in the VAR room..
“For me nothing, a struggle between the two, he complains about his face,” Hernández Maeso replied.
“Yes, when he is going to take it away, with his arm, when he swings it he hits him, he is going to take it out of the way and hit him in the face, okay?” Hernandez replied from the VAR room.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has filed a complaint to the Spanish Police over the leak of the VAR audio, and has launched an internal investigation to find out who is responsible. The RFEF said in a statement: “The RFEF considers that it is extremely serious that this audiovisual material has been extracted and hopes that a response will be found as soon as possible in order to determine who is responsible.”
Jijantes is a radio show hosted by the Catalan journalist Gerard Romero, who is known for his criticism of Real Madrid and his support for Barcelona.