Real Madrid have found an unlikely ally in Atlético boss Diego Simeone, who says that the high number of decisions that have appeared to go in Los Blancos’ favour is down to the frequency of their attacks, rather than any refereeing bias.
Barcelona have led criticisms of VAR and referees in recent weeks, with president Josep Bartomeu suggesting the technology benefits ‘one team’ – alluding to two key decisions that went in Los Blancos’ favour in their win over Athletic Club.
Following Barca’s win at Villarreal, Bartomeu said: “VAR isn’t at the level that everyone wanted. Post-lockdown, there have been lots of games that haven’t been even and where the same team has been favoured, and many teams have been unlucky.
“VAR has to help the referee. During the last few games, everyone has seen the images where the VAR hasn’t been used well.”
Gerard Pique too has made comments alluding to refereeing decisions in La Liga this season.
Madrid beat Athletic club courtesy of a Sergio Ramos penalty, having beaten Getafe in similar circumstances just three days earlier – with VAR ruling in Los Blancos’ favour on both occasions.
Simeone, however, was having none of the suggestions that the system is rigged to suit his team’s rivals, offering a far more straightforward explanation as to why things seem to go their way.
“VAR exposes everything,” Simeone said as quoted by Goal. “Before we didn’t have the possibility of seeing some things that we now see. The referees are people who can be wrong as well.
“It is fairer. If they give you more penalties, it’s because you are in the opposition’s area more. If they attack more, like Real Madrid, it means you are there longer.
“In the speed of the game it’s difficult to see what happens, but now another referee sees it with calmness on television. People too, from their homes.
“Then there is a person who decides, which is the VAR. It can hurt you or help you, but now we are all clear on if its offside, if it’s a penalty…we are all more exposed.”
Madrid have the initiative in La Liga’s title race, with their latest Ramos-inspired victory keeping four points between them and Barcelona. Three more wins will make sure of their first title since 2017.
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