La Liga refereeing in numbers so far: fewer penalties, red cards and more added time

The Technical Committee for Referees (CTA) say they are satisfied with the levels of officiating this season, and feel matters have improved, in spite of several managers growing increasingly frustrated.

Celta Vigo manager Rafael Benitez has been particularly irate about decisions that have gone against his side, alleging that they are responsible for a significant portion of his side’s plight. Before the international break, Benitez was not happy about a penalty which his side was deprived of late on in a draw with Sevilla. Diario AS have covered some of the statistics that were provided by Alberto Undiano Mallenco and Carlos Clos Gomez.

According to their assertions, the number of penalties due to fouls on players has decreased by 9% (from 33 to 30). “We want clear penalties, not light contacts,” noted Undiano. “It’s not much, but we’re still trending in the right direction.” Penalties for handballs have increased from 13 to 14. “We are being very consistent and we are very happy.” Regarding the VAR, in the indicated penalties, it has been used in 30% of those cases to give or annul them.

Regarding red cards, the number of sending offs has decreased by 38% (from 21 to 13). “Last year we were criticised a lot. This year they were reduced, but we could have gotten some more. But we have not slowed down and we continue to have the same criteria. Any challenge that puts the players at risk will be sanctioned,” explained Undiano. Of the red cards, four have been for obvious scoring opportunities. Last year there were 12. Regarding the influence of the VAR, it helped in five red card decisions (29%).

In terms of insults and protests, they have increased. Complaints have increased, as have yellow cards for that reason (83 to 103), an ncrease of 24% from this stage last season. Coaches have gone from 21 to 14 yellow cards, a reduction of 33%.

The average stoppage time has increased by 31%. Each game averages 11 minutes and 19 seconds, compared to 8 minutes and 40 seconds last campaign. “We must give more fluidity in the game. With the ball in play there are less protests. But sometimes there is no other choice. Right now we’re playing nearly an entire half of extra time.” said Clos Gomez.

VAR interventions have been reduced from 69 to 52: 17 for goals, 27 for penalties, 8 for red cards. Now it intervenes once every 2.46 games, while last year at this point it was every 1.88 games.

The figures certainly point in a positive direction on the whole, but it is not the general feeling which has been conveyed by managers and players, who remain frustrated. The adaptation to VAR was always going to be tricky, but it still feels as if VAR is a major factor in every match, and often referees pause the game in order to wait for the decision, breaking up the fluidity that Undiano speaks of.

Tags CTA La Liga Medina Cantalejo RFEF

1 Comment

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  1. I don’t know if the card standards have changed or not, but putting Lahoz out to pasture probably accounts for half of the reduction all by itself, lol.

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