The Referees’ Committee has delayed naming the officials to take charge of Real Madrid vs. Barcelona until Tuesday.
AS reports that appointments are generally known more than two weeks in advance but in this instance a decision will be made early in the week, four days before the match at Santiago Bernabeu.
Indeed, the name of the man with the whistle won’t be decided until 9pm local time on Tuesday, and there are believed to be three reasons for the unprecedented stance.
The importance of the game is given as one, while there is also a desire to protect the appointed official from the pressure of the build-up.
There are also physical tests to be held on Tuesday for referees and assistants, and the results will be taken into account to ensure the officials are fit and healthy.
The committee didn’t want to appoint a referee early, only for the designated referee to fail a fitness test and have to be replaced.
The allegations of pressure on officials to favour Madrid, made in October, have no bearing on the delay, AS say, as there wasn’t even an official appointed for the match by that point.