Controversial Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has planned to retire after being caught in another officiating blunder in Copa Del Rey.
Recall Mateu Lahoz was among the first set of referees that was sent home by FIFA in the just-concluded 2022 World Cup after glaring officiating blunders that got the players, fans, and pundits talking.
Mateu Lahoz emerged into the spotlights after his match-twisting officiating in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and Netherlands.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw and was dragged to penalties where Netherlands lost to the Argentines.
In the game, Mateu Lahoz issued a record number of yellow cards, causing a storm of controversy and reactions.
Players from both sides slammed his poor and uncoordinated officiating with Lionel Messi leading the contingent of disgruntled players who slammed the Spaniard after the game.
Lionel Messi said Mateu Lahoz “was not fit to officiate the game,” while Barcelona star and Dutch midfielder, Frenkie De Jong, who also played in the game, said Mateu Lahoz’s handling of the match was “scandalous.”
After the game, the Spaniard and highly-revered La Liga and UEFA referee was among the first set of referees sent home by FIFA as the world’s football governing body trim down on the number of referee before the final.
After the World Cup blunder, Mateu Lahoz has been in the heart of controversial refereeing decisions in La Liga and Copa Del Rey matches in Spain.
The recent scenarios being the Copa Del Rey clash between Barcelona and Espanyol in the La Liga. He issued a record number of cards in the game and stoking another storm of controversies.
In the Copa Del Rey clash between Sevilla and Linares, Lahoz also caused controversy when he redcarded Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli with just seventeen minutes played in the game.
Due to the controversies that has trailed his officiating, Mateu Lahoz is gradually falling down the pecking order, with Spanish football authorities considering dropping him in the weekend games.
According to reports, Mateu Lahoz himself is aware of the negative comments and reactions that have trailed his officiating. He is considering retirement, with some reports claiming he will likely retire at the end of the current 2022/23 football season.
Born on 12 March, 1977, Mateu Lahoz began working as a referee in La Liga in 2008. Since then, he has established himself as one of the most prominent referees in Spain.
He is also one of the most unpopular referees in Spain, and is known for allowing matches to descend into chaos by not reacting to play, and then becoming the protagonist through bizarre discussions with players and making controversial decisions.
Some pundits argued Lahoz is a fan of Real Madrid, due to his decisions in matches featuring them or their rivals often benefitting Real Madrid.