An end to bickering, realizing La Liga is more than Real Madrid & Barcelona & not boiling fans in the stands. Paco Polit has a wish list for the game in Spain
With Christmas already behind us, it’s time to check out if Santa has brought us a number of wishes for the new year ahead which would, in our humble opinion, improve the state of Spanish football in a dramatic fashion.
1) Please refs, use the VAR properly
Is VAR an absolute improvement on what came before? Absolutely. Is it perfect? Hell no! And referees themselves are the ones to blame.
It seemed as if the media campaign before the season began had been successful towards teaching fans the four (and only four) cases on which the Video Assistant Referee should be used to solve any potential doubts cast upon a play.
However, the technology on paper is not the same as actually applying it on the pitch. The first four months of a VAR-influenced La Liga have had their fair share of success… and yes, quite a few humungous and appalling mistakes as some refs appear to not have learned the new rules properly. Hands inside the box that are not reviewed on TV, referees ignoring advice from their peers inside the VAR room…
Again, the improvement has been substantial, but several sides (most of them regarded as ‘tiny’ in comparison to Spain’s powerhouses) have begun suspecting that this new piece of technology is not as fair as it seems.
2) Better scheduling for once and for all
This point is pretty straightforward: in 2019, we hope La Liga officials don’t schedule games at noon with almost 40ºC in the stands and extreme heat conditions which might cause serious health problems to supporters in the stadium. It happened in 2018 (once again) and it was disgraceful and unworthy of such a globally-liked tournament.
3) A fairer, more balanced coverage of the competition
I guess the media should also get a slight warning this winter, as unluckily we have found ourselves once again gravitating into rusty old debates with no space whatsoever for new names and potentially exciting (and fresher) takes. The Ballon d’Or debate was soon turned into a Messi v Ronaldo fisticuff, leaving Luka Modric as some sort of stand-in in the show.
The Barça v Real debates are getting tedious, predictable and boring. La Liga might want to push forward that narrative as they believe it’s the one that gets fans into seats and followers around the world tuning in to their TVs, but it’s our duty to offer true football connoisseurs a wide range of options.
For example, by telling tales of Sevilla’s inner turmoil regarding the selling of the club, Valencia’s trouble with Peter Lim’s peculiar style of management, the epic nature of what sides such as Eibar or Leganés are doing, the consistent miracles performed by sides such as Getafe or Levante, and so on.
4) No more bickering between La Liga and the Spanish Federation
The extent to which Javier Tebas (La Liga’s boss) and Luis Rubiales (president of the Spanish Federation) have butted heads in 2018 has been both amazing and deplorable at the same time. It’s a view to behold: Spain’s two biggest football official clashing again and again in a pathetic war of wills where any excuse is a good one to slam the enemy.
The controversy surrounding the innovative idea of flying both Barça, Girona and hundreds of fans to Miami to hold a La Liga game focused almost half of the year which is about to end. After many disagreements, ultimately both Barça and Girona pulled out of the project, handing a pyrrhic victory to Rubiales… even though Tebas has already ‘threatened’ to try again in the near future. Spanish football is certainly doomed if its officials keeps behaving like Itchy and Scratchy in the future.