Soccer-Spanish referees cause card confusion in La Liga
MADRID May 18 (Reuters) - Thirteen Primera Liga players will avoid suspension and compete in matches this weekend, after referees took action against the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)'s system for revising decisions on appeal.
Last weekend, referees refused to detail in their match reports why a large number of yellow cards were issued, stating simply they were given "for unsporting behaviour."
"We haven't taken action on any of these yellow cards because...they have to give a reason for the sanction," RFEF competition committee president Alfredo Florez told sports daily Marca on Friday.
"Our rules oblige them to describe what the player has done. I think the referees have done this to complain because they think we meddle in their work and undermine their authority."
Only two players, Racing Santander's Pedro Munitis and Levante's Felix Ettien, are suspended for this round of matches.
Spanish media reported the referees acted after the competition committee overruled a yellow card awarded to Real Madrid's David Beckham for time wasting against Athletic Bilbao, following an appeal from the club.
The card completed a cycle of five yellows meaning the midfielder would have been suspended for the crucial clash with Sevilla in the Bernabeu on May 6.
Appeals and changes to referees' decisions are commonplace each week in Spain.
"They re-referee games sitting on a sofa with a video. It is very easy to referee on the television, but it shows a lack of respect towards our work," one match official, who did not want to be named, told daily El Pais on Friday.
Another referee, Alberto Undiano Mallenco, said they were working within FIFA guidelines.
"In European games it is normal to record them (decisions) in this way, but here it isn't enough," he said.
Clubs affected by the RFEF's decision to waive the yellow cards have voiced their disapproval.
UEFA Cup-chasing Villarreal host direct rivals Racing Santander in the league on Sunday. Racing will have top scorer Nikola Zigic and midfielder Vitolo available after avoiding suspensions.
"The referees should have waited until the end of the season. Their action will have an influence on the four remaining games and everything that is still to play for. It's a farce," said Villarreal midfielder Josico.
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