The Technical Arbitration Committee (CTA) has issued a strong statement to deny that the referee César Soto Grado admitted to having spared Rodrygo Goes from a red card during the Las Palmas-Real Madrid match on Saturday.
The controversy erupted after DAZN shared a video of the referee’s conversation with Real Madrid players Nacho and Dani Carvajal in the tunnel at half-time. In the video, Soto Grado is heard saying “Very clear, it is red” in response to Nacho’s claim that Rodrygo only pushed the goalkeeper Álvaro Valles and that both players should have been booked.
However, the CTA claims that the audio of the video was taken out of context and that the referee actually said “If it was the other way around, you would say that it is a very clear red” to challenge Nacho’s assessment. The CTA also invites the players of both teams present in the conversation to confirm the correct version and regrets “a new manoeuvre with the only end to put the referee’s body in the target”.
Rodrygo was involved in a heated incident with Valles early the game, when Valles pushed Rodrygo in the back while the Brazilian was minding his business facing the other way. Rodrygo retaliated by slapping Valles in the face. The referee only showed a yellow card to the Brazilian forward, but not to Valles.
The decision sparked outrage among Las Palmas fans and players, who felt that Rodrygo deserved a straight red card for the conduct; while Real Madrid fans are still asking for more protection for their own players as they continually suffer heavy challenges without punishment, while the Real Madrid players who react are the ones booked.