El Clasico might need to change its name to El Fix-ico if what one linesman says is true. According to Spain’s Cadena COPE, the linesman, allegedly chosen to help officiate next month’s match, complained to Barcelona’s anti-corruption prosecutor that he was told to favor Real Madrid by the match’s main referee.
According to the Oct. 19 filing obtained by COPE, however, the order came from above the referee. Specifically, the filing states Referee Technical Committee member Jose Angel Jimenez Munoz de Morales pressured the match’s main referee, who then passed the message on to the lineman to favor Real. The documents, filed by attorney Jacinto Vicente Hernandez, do not identify the referee or the linesman.
The complaint alleges the linesman was pressured make the match-fixing scheme more subtle.
“It would be better if the most difficult decisions in the game weren’t made by the referee because he gets more media attention,” the document says the linesman was told.
Munoz de Morales was quick to deny the claims this week, calling them “something out of a Kafka novel.”
“I have no idea where they come from,” he said via Spain’s AS.com.
Claims that there’s been a plan within La Liga to set up Real Madrid to win the top-flight title this season are not new, however. While the alleged El Clasico fix is the most specific claim made this season, Atletico Madrid Manager Diego Simeone made more general claims at the start of the season. He said the league was desperate to see powerhouse Real Madrid live up to its reputation.
“The league is dangerously prepared for Real Madrid,” Simeone said (via the Independent). “Madrid cannot go seven years with only winning one league. This year I think that sadly it is difficult to see another team winning it.”
As it currently stands, Real Madrid is in a three-way tie for first with Barcelona and Celta Vigo in the La Liga standings.