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This will be the ‘new’ arbitration of Spanish football

One week remains for the ball to start rolling in the Spanish league. So that football stadiums are filled again, so


One week remains for the ball to start rolling in the Spanish league. So that football stadiums are filled again, so that the passion for goals is relived and so that the referees become the center of criticism for their performances. They have been, are and will be, despite their educational messages and their approach to hobbies, the “great ugly duckling” of this ball business. And more so in a season like the current one that is marked by the historic interruption of the competition in November for the World Cup in Qatar.

A season in addition where we face in the Spanish league a more traditional arbitration and not so “technological”. The referee is the one who whistles and the VAR only accompanies. This is the insistent message that is being transmitted from the arbitration group, headed by its president, Luis Medina Cantalejo.

The Andalusian, with an impeccable national and international career, He was the great protagonist of the historic expulsion of Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final during the final that faced France and Germany. He was the one who warned the referee Horacio Elizondo of the Frenchman’s header against Materazzi and that he is already part of football history. So there was no VAR but there was an earpiece to communicate between the refereeing body.

Sixteen years later, Medina Cantalejo presides over a group that is committed to this return to the origins. The main referee is the boss and technology helps in this “ungrateful” and complicated arbitration work. His messages in recent weeks have been blunt about the east «essential role of the field referee» and where the “VAR is here to help” but recovering «the role of the field referee». That is to say, that the “decision-making ability of a referee on the field must be paramount.

A VAR that must act faster

This implies that the VAR, which we have been talking about and discussing so much since its premiere at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, will not be the one that sets the guidelines and times of arbitration. It is, as the president of the establishment himself has expressed, «a safety net that reassures you if you have a clear and manifest error». A VAR that will seek to be faster in its decision-making, avoiding those moments of uncertainty that paralyze the hearts of fans.

It should be faster and more accurate. It is the great subject of technology, as expressed by its head in our country, the former collegiate Carlos Clos Gómez: “We need them to be as quick as possible in the procedure. That they find the best images and that the reaction time of VAR is reduced.

Penalties have to be penalties

In this way, we already have an arbitration in which the braid has more weight, without so much dependence on a VAR that will also try to be more agile when making decisions in the cases allowed by the rule: penalties, goals, offside and identity confusion.

But in addition to this return to the origins, the arbitration tries to flee from the “faults” or from the penalties. In other words, actions within the area will be whistled and punished when they really are. Whether it’s takedowns or hands. «We are going to whistle the clear penalties and the clear hands » categorically affirms the president of the referees.

They go even further: “Penalties have to be penalties because they are actions that can give a team a victory or a defeat.” Then let’s get used to the spectator that those plays where the possible infraction is not clear, will never be sanctioned.

Discount times against the Spanish “picaresque”

And another element to take into account is the application of discount time. No more faking an injury in the final moments of the match to try to make time pass and to be able to achieve the objective: either victory or a precious draw. As it began to act in the final stretch of last season, all the time lost will be deducted. Without fear of leaving after ten or twelve minutes, as we already saw in the last league.

The message to the referees has been very clear, «If in that time of discount, they observe that the players are injured or that other circumstances occur, that they prolong and prolong what is necessary and that it be staged in a clear way. Already last season an increase of 32% in added time was achieved compared to the previous season.

These are the basic principles of this new arbitration, who returns to his most purist philosophyand which will be broadcast on the 9th of this month to all La Liga coaches, in addition to visiting all the changing rooms to make it known to the footballers.