Barcelona’s first game of the 2023/24 La Liga campaign against Getafe was mired in controversy, with the referee coming under the scanner.
It was an ill-tempered affair, with Barça players on the receiving end of some rough challenges from the Getafe players.
But the biggest point of discussion was the late penalty that was not given to Barça by the referee.
Cesar Soto Grado, the match official, dismissed the penalty claims for an alleged handball by Gavi when there was nothing.
Referee made the wrong call, admits CTA
Now, the Referees’ Technical Committee (CTA) has determined that Barcelona should have been awarded a penalty by the match official as there was no punishable offence from Gavi.
This update comes from journalist Joan Fabregas, who adds that Soto Grado has not been given any matches to officiate for the upcoming matchweek.
Manager Xavi Hernandez had hit out at the match official for not keeping the Getafe players in check and the penalty call as well, saying:
“The match was violent because the referee allowed them to foul us. For us they call everything, but they allow them to do anything they want.
“Gavi’s handball call is invented. The referee cost us the game, he has to explain himself. There’s no handball from Gavi. They told us that they were only going to call out very clear handballs. I don’t understand. It’s a joke.”
Barcelona have been at the receiving end of some dubious calls by Soto Grado in the past as well, and these kind of mistakes should not be allowed to happen when there is VAR technology in place.
After all, the penalty could have been the difference between a win and the eventual draw for Barça and every point matters in the long season.