Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has weighed in to a debate about refereeing by saying many officials in Spain were likely to favour his club’s great rivals Real Madrid.
Pique, in an interview on YouTube show Post United on Thursday, said that if the vast majority of LaLiga referees supported Real Madrid, they would naturally be partial to that team when refereeing their games.
The central defender, recovering from a long-term knee injury, was reacting to Spanish media reporting comments from former referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez that many officials in Spain were Real Madrid fans.
‘The other day a former referee said that 85 per cent of the referees are from Madrid,’ Pique said in the interview.
How are they not going to whistle in favour of Madrid? Even unconsciously, how are they not going to give more for one side than the other?
‘I respect the professionalism of the referees and I know they try to do their best job, but when a moment of doubt comes…’
Barcelona have had 12 penalties this season while Real have been awarded three while the LaLiga giants have both been shown the same number of yellow cards (36) and have both had one player sent off.
Last campaign Barcelona received 83 bookings and six red cards with Real were shown 72 yellow cards and saw four players dismissed.
In El Clasico back in October Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was left furious at the decision to award Real a penalty in the 3-1 defeat as he claimed VAR only gives calls against his side.