Spanish football could be facing one of its biggest scandals after a linesman claimed he has been asked to favour Real Madrid during the Clasico match next month.
The Spanish media says the official, who remains anonymous because he fears possible reprisals, has reported the approach to an anti-corruption magistrate, alleging he was told last month to favour Madrid when they face Barcelona.
The Spanish Football Association and the Guardia Civil are investigating the claims, but they could face difficulty proving the claims because no conversation was recorded.
Miguel Cardenal, the Secretary of State for Sport, said the claims are being taken seriously. “This is an extremely serious accusation and is extraordinarily alarming. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible.”
Sonja Monje, Barcelona’s vice-president said she hoped the claims would be taken seriously as the story would “be dangerous in terms of the prestige of La Liga.”
Los Blancos boss Rafa Benitez also told reporters at his press conference that the situation needs to be dealt with, whether the claims are true or not.
“It doesn’t appear to be a genuine complaint but La Liga, the referees’ committee and the other implicated bodies have to get to the bottom of it and if it turns out not to be genuine, these people need to face the consequences. Repeating something that isn’t genuine makes it look like something without any foundation has credibility. If it’s not a genuine complaint, someone needs to face the consequences for these things,” he commented.