Sevilla report Real Madrid TV to RFEF over referee ‘harassment’

Sevilla have filed a complaint with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) accusing Real Madrid TV of a “campaign of persecution and harassment” against the referees due to take charge of the two clubs’ LaLiga match on Sunday.

Real Madrid‘s official television channel has broadcast criticism of referee and VAR decisions before and after the club’s matches this season, leading opponents to accuse them of attempting to influence officials.

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“The club wishes to confirm [that] through a written statement to the Competition Committee of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), we have reported the campaign of persecution and harassment towards the referee [Isidro] Díaz de Mera and [Pablo] González Fuertes (VAR) for tomorrow evening’s game against Real Madrid orchestrated by Real Madrid TV, the official club television channel of Real Madrid,” Sevilla said in a statement on Saturday.

“We wish to formally report these events to the RFEF to see if these actions can be considered as a violation of competition rules or any other regulations.

“The club also wishes to reiterate its strongest condemnation of these orchestrated campaigns aimed at undermining the image of the refereeing body, causing serious harm to Spanish football and calling into question the integrity of the competition.”

Earlier this month, Barcelona president Joan Laporta described Real Madrid TV’s videos criticising referees as “shameful” in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1, calling on the RFEF to “get involved” in the matter, while coach Xavi Hernández claimed that “[the videos] influence the competition completely, week after week.”

The head of Spain’s refereeing body the CTA, Luis Media Cantalejo, has also accused Real Madrid TV of “putting pressure” on referees.

“We don’t like it at all,” he told COPE radio last month. “There’s no sport, no team in the world that does this. Teams have their [local] press which supports them, but what’s happening with this TV channel has never happened, anywhere else.

“What they’re doing seems absolutely negative to me. I’ve never seen it in 40 years of refereeing, putting pressure on before a game, every week. It’s negative not just for refereeing but for the image of Spanish football… We’ve put it in the hands of legal advice, to look at the matter.”

In a speech to the club’s AGM last November, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez called for Spain’s Government to intervene to “take steps to improve refereeing bodies in this country” calling reform “urgent” and “essential for the wellbeing of Spanish football.”