Referees in spotlight for all the wrong reasons

Ref Adonai Escobedo explains a call to Mazatlán FC's Marco Fabián during Friday's Liga MX match. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images)
Ref Adonai Escobedo explains a call to Mazatlán FC's Marco Fabián during Friday's Liga MX match. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images) /
Liga MX refs
Liga MX referee Fernando Hernández did not have a good outing this past weekend, according to a former official. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images) /

The new Liga MX season is only two weeks old and the all-too familiar refrain – “Ref, you suck!” – is reaching a level that can only be labeled cacophonous.

Game officials are once again under the gun and new Referees Commission president Armando Archundia is already feeling the heat from coaches, players and the media.

Tigres coach Miguel Herrera and Monterrey manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich were both fined for critical remarks made after Matchday 1 and the Disciplinary Committee is no doubt calculating more such sanctions after another uneven performance from Liga MX officiating crews.

Many had hoped that the change in leadership would be a good first step in restoring the reputation of the refereeing fraternity – and to be fair, Archundia has not even been on the job a month yet – but issues of nepotism and accountability remain a concern, say critics.

Are Liga MX arbiters up to the task?

One constant critic of Liga MX officials has been former ref Felipe Ramos Rizo (now a commentator for ESPN and columnist for sports daily “Record,” Ramos Rizo reffed three games in the 2002 World Cup, the highlight of his 20-year officiating career).

In his July 12 column for “Record,” Ramos Rizo singled out four referees who severely botched calls in this past weekend’s Liga MX matches.

In Toluca’s 3-2 win over holders Atlas, Fernando Hernández allowed Toluca’s second goal to stand in minute 10 even after VAR summoned him to look at the foul that led to the Diablos gaining possession (foul can be seen at bottom of screen at beginning of this video).

Hernández, wrote Ramos Rizo, also overlooked a “clear penalty” by Toluca defender Andrés Mosquera in minute 81.

César Ramos is taken to task for not ejecting Santos Laguna defender Félix Torres after he stamped the foot of Puebla’s Jordi Cortizo, a violent foul that didn’t even earn a yellow card.

In contrast, Adonai Escobedo red-carded Tigres winger Sebastián Córdova for a fail that didn’t even merit a yellow card.

Fortunately, both teams aggrieved by the above two missed calls won their matches or, no doubt, there would be much more kicking and screaming along Liga MX sidelines.

However, Querétaro was not so fortunate. Necaxa’s first goal came after a shot ricocheted off the crossbar and Gallos Blancos goalie Washington Aguerre was nudged in the back by a Rayos player, allowing teammate Milton Giménez to nod the ball home. Necaxa won 2-1.

Perhaps more disturbing than the mistakes and oversights are the accusations of nepotism and favoritism, as well as the lack of accountability for underperforming officials.

Next. 3 takeaways from Matchday 2. dark

This figures to be an ongoing concern throughout the Liga MX season unless Archundia demonstrates he is willing to shake things up and regain the confidence of teams and players. Until he does, the critics will be out in full throat – as they should be.