La Liga mess shows the FA have actually done something right

Joshua Byers

For Luis Suárez, torchbearer of fair play within modern football, there was poetic justice on Sunday afternoon as Neymar was refused a blatant penalty, only for a Real Betis defender to then knock the ball into his own net.

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A defender made an attempt to clear it off the line but could not react fast enough, the ball crossing the line by what Suarez claimed to be a full metre. Think Lampard in the 2010 World Cup. Just like that goal, however, the referee and his staff failed to notice that it was a goal, and Suarez was left running around the pitch looking for somebody to bite in sanctimonious fury.

This was no small decision; Barcelona went on to drop two points and with that possibly surrendered all hopes of winning La Liga. Real Madrid are now four points ahead with a game in hand against lowly Valencia and Barcelona still need to play the leaders in the capital – the trophy will surely have the privilege of being pictured next to a scantily clad Cristiano Ronaldo come May.

Back in England last week, there was a similar incident when Liverpool hosted Southampton in the EFL Cup. Emre Can almost silenced a body of critics that grows with every confused puppy performance, firing a shot towards goal that Fraser Forster failed to save. The keeper recovered but it looked for all the world as though the ball had crossed the line, only for referee Martin Atkinson to look at his trusty watch and inform the players that technology had informed him otherwise. Nobody kicked up a fuss: It was a fact.

And so it is time to say something unnervingly strange: The LFP need to follow the good example set by the FA. Yes, the FA. The same federation that normally seems desperate for everything to be as much of a cock-up as possible, from the John Terry racism case to letting Mike Dean anywhere near a football field when the man clearly needs to be on stage. We’re thinking Dean and Tobias Funke in the Blue Man Group together.

This is a classic example of the adage “Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day”, and Spanish football needs to take note.

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