La Liga’s VAR goes missing for crucial Barcelona and Real Madrid decisions

Missing: La Liga’s VAR officials.

Something strange has happened in La Liga over the last few weeks.

Since the introduction of VAR in Spain’s top flight, fans have become used to almost everything being reviewed.

Be it a hairline stroke of the boot of a player hurling themselves to ground or a half centimetre separating a striker from his marker, VAR has taken time off the clock to get to the ‘correct decision’.

The start of this season didn’t feel too different, but in recent weeks, there has been a change of plan…we think.

There hasn’t been any official communication on the use of VAR in La Liga, but it seems to have gone missing.

Last week, Barcelona were awarded a scandalous penalty to help them defeat Espanyol 1-0.

Replays seemed to clearly show Leandro Cabrera taking the ball from Memphis Depay, but the penalty was awarded anyway.

The only defence? At least VAR was used.

This week, Barcelona appeared to get away with two penalties against Villarreal.

First, Gerard Pique slid in and blocked the ball with his arm. Now, whether it hits his hip or his arm first may be open to interpretation, but not on the part of VAR, which did not intervene.

Gerard Pique appeared to handle the ball

Later, Eric Garcia essentially rugby tackled Raul Albiol to the ground in the box following a corner.

It could not have been a clearer foul, but once again, no VAR intervention. Hello, is anyone there?

Eric Garcia wrestles Raul Albiol to the floor

“There are real people in the VAR and someone has to take responsibility,” fumed Villarreal boss Unai Emery at full-time. “Someone has to explain why we were not given a penalty.

“It’s not normal that VAR did not give us anything; perhaps they were asleep.”

Around 24 hours later, it was Real Madrid’s turn to get away with one.

Los Blancos defeated Sevilla 2-1 thanks to Vinicius Junior’s brilliant winner.

But long before the Brazilian lashed one into the top corner, Lucas Ocampos was tripped by David Alaba.

David Alaba trips Lucas Ocampos

Not only was no penalty given, but once again, it wasn’t even reviewed.

“Everything that could have gone against us, has been given,” Sevilla boss Lopetegui said after the game.

“They tell me that the penalty is very clear, they didn’t want to review it and after that, they make the decision and we have to abide by it.”

So, what is going on? Has VAR directive changed?

If so, then fine. Less VAR intervention is not something most fans would object to, but it must be made clear to the players, coaches and fans.

Until then, everyone involved is expecting the same rules to apply to every team and across the whole competition.

Until then, La Liga are asking for claims of bias towards Barcelona and Real Madrid, especially when there is a complete lack of VAR involvement for decisions that should have gone against those teams, and indeed would have had these games been played last season or earlier in the campaign.

Tags FC Barcelona La Loga Real Madrid Sevilla VAR Villarreal


  1. Why the surprise in this article? Wheather the var or the referee, wheather the economic stracture of the game, or other factors, it has always been like this in spanish football. Since the spanish football championship / la liga started back in 1929, only 9 teams have won it. The other 7 have won combined a total of 30 out of the 90. Real and Barca between them hace won the rest 60! Probably var is doing its best to ensure that the least competitive league in Europe remains so.

  2. what about the handball incident that should have been a penalty in favor of madrid that was overlooked??????????????????
    you are BIASED

  3. I didn’t watch the Barcelona games but the Madrid one wasn’t a penalty. He barely touched him and Ocampos jumped a second later. Terrible acting 3/10

  4. The picture in this article clearly showing Garcia’s rugby tackle on Albiol appeared outside the box.

    Poor you!

  5. Any time there is controversy regarding a penalty decision in Real Madrid’s favor, there are charges of pro-Meringues bias. However, statistics tell a deifferent story. Thus far, Real has been awarded one PK this season–tied for last in the league. Last year they went for more than half the season with zero PKs awarded. These stats make it clear that pro-Meringues bias is extremely unlikely.

  6. The picture in the article shows Garcia and Albiol outside the goalkeeper box but inside the penalty box. The edge of the penalty box is ‘touching’ the ball and Ter Stegens head in the picture.
    So he is clearly within the penalty box.

    The var biggest problem is that uefa as well as leagues seem to have started to serve it to the public as a ‘black box’, “we have var now, what we deside therefore is good and we are never wrong and u need not concern your selves” and it is backfiring.

  7. Bringing up a single statistic about penalties doesnt prove anything!
    To check if there is bias one would need to look at penalties, hand balls, red cards etc etc a load of different statistics and double check them through var. Then compare things with equivalent statistics from other teams.
    There should be a way to review decissions after var and referee errors and then oficials to be marked or even punished accordingly in a transparent way. Even if this happens after a game has finished and does and can no longer affect the result.

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