Sevilla cry foul over referee treatment after LaLiga red cards exceed 100 for first time in seven years

By Sports Desk April 08, 2023

Sevilla claim they have suffered "alarming" treatment at the hands of LaLiga referees this season and said the number of red cards shown should serve as an "urgent wake-up call" to league chiefs.

In an extraordinary statement issued by the club on Saturday, Sevilla pointed to the team receiving 91 yellows and 11 red cards despite committing just 329 fouls.

That aggregate of 102 cards is the most shown to any team in the Spanish top flight this term, despite 13 teams having more fouls to their name.

Sevilla sat 13th in the table after a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Friday, in which Pape Gueye and Marcos Acuna were both dismissed and a 2-0 lead was relinquished in the closing moments.

This season's performance has been a frustrating one, after three consecutive fourth-placed finishes.

The club stated: "Sevilla FC want to place on record its deep concern and opposition to many of the refereeing decisions taken this season regarding the yellow and red cards issued to our players."

Sevilla said they "cannot agree with many of the decisions regarding the cards issued to our players, which in the long run has seriously harmed us in the league".

No team heading into Saturday's LaLiga games had received more red cards this season than Sevilla (Elche also had 11), while only Real Mallorca had been shown more yellows (98), which might be expected given they topped the fouls table (449).

"On average, one in three fouls committed by Sevilla FC results in a card," the club's statement added.

"Focusing on the match against RC Celta, Sevilla FC committed 11 fouls in the match and received four yellow cards and two reds, while Celta received two yellows for nine fouls committed.

"Sevilla FC are clearly not an aggressive team which is why these statistics are alarming.

"It is clear that many of these cards may have been for protesting, something that all players from all teams do, which shows that there is a lack of consistency in relation to protests or, to put it plainly, an outrageous leniency with some and a heavy-handedness with others."

Heading into Saturday's games, LaLiga had seen 108 red cards this season, compared to 28 in the Premier League, 33 in the Bundesliga, 50 in Serie A and 81 in Ligue 1.

While it used to be customary for LaLiga to see over 100 red cards brandished in a campaign, the three-figure threshold had not been passed in each of the last six seasons, with 103 reds in 2015-16 the last time such a figure was reached.

"The average figures for the Spanish league should lead to an urgent wake-up call," Sevilla added.

"La Liga is by far the league where referees show the most cards. The comparison with the Premier League, where a physical and much more contact-based style is played, speaks for itself: in the Premier League, with more matchdays played, 29 red cards have been shown to date; in La Liga, 108. More than triple.

"This is a striking difference. From Sevilla FC, we demand that these figures be analysed and that measures be taken when the decisions go against the spirit of the game.

"It is not about making excuses for the season the team is having. If Sevilla FC is where it is, it is based on sporting performance throughout the 28 league matches played, but it is about demanding equal treatment for all La Liga clubs and fairness when making decisions, something that unfortunately is not observed anywhere today."

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