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It is a question that has been asked many times in the past, and following Saturday afternoon’s Madrid derby, it’s reared its head again. Do La Liga officials prefer Real Madrid? After Atletico Madrid was denied what appeared to be a totally legitimate punishment in the first half of the Madrid derby, the demand for impartiality has been sounded again. Alvaro Morata was clean through on goal, and his arm, wrapped around the striker impeded him from attempting to get a shot off, though Casemiro in his action had nudged the ball away. VAR appeared unmoved by the allure. The block can be seen to the left above, along with instances where the midfielder has benefitted from what could be loosely termed ‘favourable’ refereeing.

Interestingly, Juan Andujar Oliver, who now writes for Spanish MARCA said that the Morata/Casemiro clash should have resulted in a spot-kick.”After viewing replays, there seems to be contact with the arm of Casemiro on the Atletico striker,” he noticed live on Radio MARCA.” [It is ] a moment that could have been given as a penalty by the referee.” Paulo Futre, former Atletico Madrid star, went a step further. He tweeted; “The robbery of a penalty by Casemiro on Morata was so good that it will be utilised in another season of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist). I am fuming that VAR said nothing.” The accusations, whilst harmful to something that have greatly irked and Real Madrid their president, Florentino Perez, are not anything new. Back in 2017, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique complained from the officials of a bias that was pro-Real. “The penalty to Neymar was quite clear and also the one with Gorka [Iraizoz] on me, also, but we know how it works,” he said to Gol T later Barcelona lost to Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey. “We already saw what happened yesterday with Sevilla-Madrid and lately. We want to play football and not roulette, which are exactly what these decisions are generating.” His inference was clear and, before this game, his gesture La Liga president, Javier Tebas, in a game against Villarreal, made headlines.

The defender had whined about a punishment not being granted and, pointing his finger cried at them prior to leaving the area.”Hey, how did you see it? Yeah, you. Can you see it?” he raged, per AP News. Tebas confessed to media in the point that; “I agree with Pique the degree of the refereeing needs to improve.”Around the same period, Fernando Roig, Villarreal president, was fuming with Jesus Gil Manzano’s refereeing performance when the Yellow Submarine and Real Madrid played. More so because the official and his supporters were pictured with Real Madrid carrier luggage following the match. “Gil Manzano and his assistants left the ground with Real Madrid bags. That’s not right, it seems to me,” he said to the press. The debut of VAR is supposed to have eradicated any errors that were on-pitch, and following the Morata episode, it seems clear cut the video officials aren’t doing their jobs properly. If this amounts to favouring Real Madrid is a matter of opinion and conjecture.