Competition Focus

FC Barcelona Ready To Ask For El Clasico Replay Over ‘Phantom Goal’

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta attacked the use of VAR in Spanish football and revealed that he is prepared to ask for a replay of El Clasico if needs be.

Barca lost the world’s biggest derby 3-2 to its bitter rivals in the Bernabeu on Sunday, with head coach Xavi Hernandez calling the officiating of the tie an “embarrassment” while his captain Marc-Andre ter Stegen used the same word to describe a lack of goal line technology in such a top championship as La Liga.

Barca fans and pundits believe that VAR could have been used in two penalty incidents which saw Real Madrid awarded a spot kick and Barca denied another.

Furthermore, the referee ruled that Lamine Yamal’s shot against Andriy Lunin didn’t cross the line in the first half despite some freezeframe photos showing that the ball indeed did.

Addressing the furore on Monday afternoon in Catalonia, through an official address posted via the club’s social media channels, Laporta reminded us that although he has never been a “big proponent of VAR” because he believes it “takes away from the spontaneity of football”, he is in favour of the tool being used “always” to “avoid mistakes that could lead to unfair decisions”.

“With this appearance that I am making, I not only want to express the discomfort from Barca fans for the mismanagement of VAR yesterday, but also to emphasise the fact that, despite being a tool that has been with us for some time, it continues to cause confusion and contradictory criteria depending on the matches and teams,” Laporta explained.

“As president of FC Barcelona I also want to highlight the power of our competition and underline that we are a successful competition followed by millions of fans everywhere. But that does not mean that we can remain on the sidelines of criticism when the use of VAR undervalues our competition,” he said specifically about La Liga.

“We understand the difficulty of refereeing but that is precisely why there are tools, such as VAR, that should help to have a fairer competition and not the other way around.

“Yesterday there were several debatable plays, but among all of them there is one that is essential and that can lead to a change in the final result of the match. I’m talking about Lamine’s so-called phantom goal.

“As a club we want to be sure about what happened, and that is why I inform you FC Barcelona will immediately request that the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) and the Spanish Football Federation provides us with all the images and audios generated by the play”.

“If, after analysing this documentation, the club understands that there was an error in the assessment of the play, we will take all the appropriate actions to reverse the situation without ruling out, obviously, the necessary legal proceedings,” Laporta vowed.

“If it is confirmed that it was a legal goal, we will go further and do not rule out asking for a replay of the match, as has happened in a European match due to a VAR error.

“Finally I want to underline that although we will focus on this play, we also disagree with various actions in the course of the match that, although they could be consulted by VAR, the tool was ignored by the referee in an incomprehensible way.”

Addressing Culers more directly, Laporta said that Barca has been forced to live in a situation of “defenselessness” and has “suffered numerous actions on the pitch” – some of which have harmed the Blaugrana and others that have benefited “our rival” meaning Madrid.

For Laporta, all this added together explains the current 11-point gap between the two Spanish giants at the La Liga summit, with Barca looking highly likely to cede its domestic crown won in spring last year.

As of yet, La Liga hasn’t responded to Laporta’s speech.

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