Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández was furious and did not mince words with his comments on the performance of referee César Soto Grado and his team following the Blaugrana’s goalless draw away to Getafe on Sunday’s La Liga opener.
The referee allowed Getafe to play a very physical, borderline violent game designed to waste time and not allow any flow to the match. Soto Grado also sent off Xavi for dissent and denied Barça a late penalty due to a very controversial handball by Gavi in the buildup.
Xavi was very clear about his thoughts on the referee’s decisions, and was critical of La Liga for allowing a subpar standard of officiating in one of the top leagues in Europe.
“If this match is La Liga’s product, it’s an absolute embarrassment. I understand why people don’t watch our football.
“The handball given to Gavi was invented. They told us in a meeting that only very clear handballs would be given and Gavi’s wasn’t one, yet they gave it anyway. They told us they would use VAR less and I don’t know if VAR is there to help or not. I don’t see the point of that meeting.
“I was sent off for telling the referee they were allowing Getafe to get away with a lot of fouls and not doing the same for us. We had a meeting with the referees and the first change they said they would make is that they would understand the coaches more, and the tension we feel on the pitch. But that is not what happened, and I don’t understand it.
“The game got away from the referee’s hands. They allow too much of this, if this is the product we are selling as a league, it’s not normal. It’s an accumulation of things, they allow our rivals to do anything they want and everything we do is a foul.
“The important thing is that this match is in the past. In the first half we didn’t play well, we tried a lot of things against a tough defensive opponent. The point we take isn’t good enough, we didn’t take our chances. In the second half we played great football.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
I would be shocked if Xavi isn’t suspended for his words. And even though some of it is out of frustration, there is quite a lot of truth in what he’s saying. A lot of people don’t like La Liga, and the standard of refereeing combined with the dirty, defensive tactics of the weaker teams is a big reason why.
But it doesn’t seem like things are gonna change anytime soon.