In the competitive arena of La Liga, where decisions on the pitch can heavily influence the outcome of a game, the spotlight on referees and their judgments has intensified. Every game is seemingly marred by bad officiating. After Gil Manzano’s decision to blow the final whistle just before Jude Bellingham should’ve scored Real Madrid’s game-winner at the Mestalla, former referee Mateu Lahoz, a figure often associated with divisive refereeing due to his own approach, has levelled criticism at his former colleague, Jesus Gil Manzano, for his handling of the match between Valencia and Real Madrid. This particular encounter at Mestalla has sparked widespread discussion in the realm of Spanish football, with Lahoz’s remarks fuelling debate over the current state of refereeing in the league.

WATCH / LISTEN: The Managing Madrid Podcast reacts to the controversial game at Mestalla immediately after the final whistle

Lahoz’s Critique

Lahoz, who has retired from refereeing duties, scrutinized Manzano’s performance beyond this single match. His criticism extends beyond the specific incident, addressing broader concerns about the priorities and football comprehension of referees. In a scathing statement, Lahoz said, “Referees today officiate more for meetings and analyses by the technical committee for refereeing at the football federation than for football itself. They try to follow guidelines, but it’s worrying how someone who has been officiating for 11 years and will officiate at the European Championship makes systematic errors. This is a problem of the entire concept and at the same time an ignorance of the football game.

“These are situations that… what happens is that we have too much ego. There is a lot of desire to whistle for Fridays (when the CTA meeting happens). If this calamity did not happen, the CTA would have said that the referee’s intelligence would have been very good.

“(The decision at the end) was a systematic error, for me it is ignorance of the game.”

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