D.dismissed in the strictest sense of the word ‘farewell’, because Antonio Mateu Lahoz is ‘fired’ from arbitration by his superiors. ‘Too’ was still excited about directing on the grass, what he likes the most. Last Thursday in Leverkusen in the Europa League I enjoyed great refereeing; on saturday in the Bernabu at RM-Celta enjoyed great refereeing… but his superiors, led by Luis Medina Cantalejo, have decided (legitimately) not to renew the contract that, year after year, the members must sign. They want ‘Too’ in the VAR, but they won’t see him there next season.
What we are going to write is a succession of whims, since the CTA is ‘a grave’ on this subject and Mateu is difficult to locate. changed phone and only his close friends can talk to him in a relaxed way.
1. The age thing is an excuse. It is not the reason but I know the excuse to which Medina Cantalejo may, by right, cling to to banish Mateu and Del Cerro Grande, the other injured referee, from the pitch. Let us remember that age was an impediment in Spain (limit 45 years) until Manuel Velasco Carballo, the previous director of the CTA, removed this absurd limitation, since a modern collegiate, at 48, can be fully in force. Mateu is 46 and Del Cerro, 47. To all this, these two farewells, of which MARCA has been reporting since last nightthey must be officially confirmed yet -will there be a ‘reversal after the leak?-.
2. But it is clear that Mateu Lahoz’s goodbye comes from a difference in criteria with the CTA. Without wanting to go deeper, because it would harm arbitration, the Committee and the Valencian simply think differently about some key issues, such as the VAR: how should the VAR be taken care of, what situations can be reviewed, the greater autonomy of the field referee, the dictatorship of the VAR’s decision if you’re going to review plays… Like, another example, the Negreira case, in which there are different degrees of involvement and ways of dealing with it; such as, for example, the way to extol or trample the relevance of a collegiate.
3. And to this we go. The arbitration collective was always very ‘military’ in the hierarchies. Now, before and tomorrow. It is not a criticism. Surely it must be so. But the current leaders, perhaps, do not forgive Mateu for having become a world reference, and I meditate, for his work on the field and for his style, undoubtedly a pioneer. It is nobody’s fault that many footballers go to greet him (be careful, like other referees) when the game ends; nobody, least of all Lahoz, is to blame for being called to lead in Greece, Qatar, the Emirates… for being called to give a didactic talk here, or open a Master (the one from MARCA, curiously) over there. The current arbitration leadership took this as an excess of prominence when, perhaps, they should have taken it as a plus for an arbitration group that, in the face of external and media noise, is alive with references that are models worldwide.
About Argentina in the World Cup and the Catalan derby… there will be a lot to talk about, but this is not the time.
Because Mateu is becoming a benchmark. There’s your resume, which is attached to this article. You will not see him railing against this one or that one. He wants to build, as today, it is supposed, the Valencian Algimia de Alfara will have risen in his town, to train the game that, in theory, will have the next weekend -he rests during the week-.
Mateu leaves Spanish arbitration, but… be a leader? Those who know him don’t see him for now. Be a season referee in Arabia? Those who know him don’t see him at all. The media? The future doesn’t matter. The present are these days of the League in which, for the last times, we will see ‘Too’ and his team.
Nor will we see Del Cerro Grande, which, by the way, was more fit than than a boy of 18. Did you see his physique?