The complaint presented by a linesman about being pressured to be biased during the upcoming Clasico on November 21 has opened the door to a lot of speculation, including over who might referee the game.
The criteria followed in recent years by the Referees Technical Committee means there are not a lot of options. It’s not a written rule, but needs to be someone who has not refereed Real Madrid at home this season or Barcelona away, or who has taken charge of a game with these teams more than once so far. The reports of the delegates of their games are taken into account.
Furthermore, the game in recent seasons has always been taken by a referee who works internationally, accompanied by his team. That gives us just 10 options: Martínez Munuera, Undiano Mallenco, Clos Gómez, Del Cerro Grande, Estrada Fernández, Fernández Borbalán, Gil Manzano, Hernández Hernández, Mateu Lahoz, and Velasco Carballo.
A list from which Del Cerro Grande and Velasco Carballo are from Madrid, and Estrada Fernandez is from Catalonia – so they are ruled out.
Applying the above criteria about refereeing reach team once and also considering whether it was home or away, Mateu Lahoz, Undiano Mallenco and Gil Manzano, have already whistled FC Barcelona against Atletico, Celta and Sevilla away, respectively, while Martinez Munuera and Hernandez Hernandez dealt with Real Madrid against Granada and Betis at home.
That leaves just two candidates, who must pass the physical tests on November 17. Fernandez Borbalan and Clos Gomez, but the latter is already assigned to a Madrid match on that day, Celta Vigo against Real Madrid.
That leaves just Borbalan Fernandez, who refereed Barcelona once, but at the Camp Nou and in September. Assuming he passes the tests, Fernandez Borbalan could be the man for the job – he refereed the Clasico before at the Bernabeu in 2011.
However, it should be said, this doesn’t mean it was someone in his team that complained about pressure from above to favour Real Madrid.