With FIFA currently in full blown crisis mode, it would be really good for fans of the beautiful game to get some good soccer news right about now. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen as one of the premier fixtures on the soccer calendar is now being marred by yet another corruption scandal.
The Independent reported Thursday morning that a linesman for the upcoming ‘El Clasico’ match between Real Madrid and Barcelona made a complaint to police that he was approached and told to favor Real Madrid in the match. With the entire referee crew being chosen before the match, the report states that the linesman was approached by the referee who informed him that the refereeing committee is pressuring him to favor Real in the upcoming November Classico.
The Daily Mail is reporting that anti-corruption officials are taking these allegations seriously.
These allegations come just two months after Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simone made claims that La Liga would make things easier for Real Madrid to win the league this year since the club’s reputation is too big for them to have only won one league title in the past seven seasons. Simone had been quoted as saying “The league is dangerously prepared for Real Madrid. Real cannot go seven years with only winning one league. This year I think that sadly it is difficult to see another team winning it.”
The report casts a shadow over what is one of the premier matches, not just in La Liga, but in all of world football. The question now becomes, if there is pressure on the referees to influence this match, has this happened before? Obviously we don’t know the answer to that and don’t want to make any egregious allegations, but it certainly can cast some doubt over certain decisions and red cards in the fixture over the previous years.
If these reports are true, it will be interesting to see how deep the match-fixing in La Liga goes and whether the league could be heading towards a scandal similar to the one that rocked Italy’s Serie A nearly a decade ago that saw Juventus end up being relegated to Serie B. While Juventus has seemingly recovered since then and made last year’s Champions League final, you can argue that as a whole, Serie A still has not recovered from the scandal.
This seems like it could be just the beginning in this story. Does the problem run deeper for La Liga? Or is this something that has been going on for quite some time? This should be a very interesting story to follow as it develops more.