In news that’s sure to send shockwaves through Spanish football, one former top flight referee has admitted that 90 percent of La Liga officials are biased towards Real Madrid.
It’s often been contended that such bias existed, though always denied, even when Jesus Gil Manzano had refereed a Villarreal v Real Madrid game in 2017 and left the ground with a Los Blancos carrier bag, per MARCA.
Now Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, a veteran of over 300 La Liga matches, has lifted the lid on where referees loyalties truly lie.
“Around 90% (of referees) go with Real and 10% with Barcelona,” he told Cadena Ser and cited by ESPN.
“Whether Barca [fans] like it or not, 70% of the Spanish population, excluding Catalonia, are Real Madrid supporters.
“There are more Barca fans these days because the younger generation has seen the trophies they won under [Pep] Guardiola. But before the ‘Lionel Messi era,’ how many people supported Madrid in Spain? About 70%?”
ESPN also note Gonzalez’s words from six years ago, which back up his recent testimony.
“The majority of referees are Real Madrid [supporters],” he said in 2014.
“We don’t come from Mars. You become a referee because you like football and there’s no one that likes football that doesn’t have a team.
Whether this outburst will lead to any action from Barcelona or any other La Liga club looking to potentially take action in the wake of the revelations we will have to see.
There’s no reason to disbelieve Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez’s version of events, but it would surely be incredibly hard to prove without the appropriate evidence, and so clubs will need to take the strongest possible legal advice.
That is likely to only be gained by undercover operations that haven’t been put into practice before, and after this, they probably never will be.