Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has slammed the Video Assistant Referee in LaLiga, claiming it has favoured Real Madrid since football restarted.
After a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, courtesy of a Sergio Ramos penalty which was awarded in the 76th minute penalty via VAR, Zinedine Zidane’s side are now four points ahead of Barcelona with four games to go.
Referee Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez awarded a penalty for Dani Garcia’s foul on Marcelo after consulting the pitchside monitor, before failing to award a penalty when Ramos caught Garcia at the other end moments later – and it was those decisions which were the subject of Bartomeu’s frustration.
‘I watched San Mames match until almost the end of the second half,’ Bartomeu said after Barcelona’s 4-1 victory against Villarreal on Sunday night.
‘I feel bad because we have the best league in the world and VAR after coronavirus isn’t fair. It has changed some results and always favours the same team.’
Madrid’s victory on Sunday was not the first time since the restart that Zidane’s side have been aided by the intervention of video technology.
In a 2-1 victory against Real Sociedad on June 21, Madrid were awarded a penalty via VAR and had three controversial decisions all go their way.
Vinicius won the penalty that put them ahead after his legs tangled with Sociedad defender Diego Llorente and he had been knocked off balance as he shot, but there would have been few complaints had it not been given.
Real Sociedad thought they had equalised when Adnan Januzaj found the back of the net but Mikel Merino was adjudged to have been offside in the build up, a decision former Real Madrid and Barcelona player Bernd Schuster called ‘ridiculous’.
Then came a third controversial incident as Benzema turned in the second goal, and eventual winner, on 70 minutes. The Frenchman had controlled the ball with his shoulder before firing through a crowd of players and into the net, with Sociedad players claiming a hand had been used.
And the week before that, Valencia thought they had taken the lead against Madrid before VAR intervened for an offside call – Zidane’s side went on to win the game 3-0.
Nevertheless, Madrid’s win on Sunday maintained their 100 per cent winning record since Spanish football restarted in the middle of last month, winning seven from seven games.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have drawn three times to hand Madrid the initiative in the title race, with pressure on manager Quique Setien amid rumoured unrest in the changing room.
One of those players seemingly frustrated by the lack of game-time is Antoine Griezmann, but the Frenchman did score an exquisite chip on Sunday night on his return to the starting XI.
However, the momentum is with Madrid, who next play Alaves at home on Friday, while Barcelona host city rivals Espanyol on Wednesday.