“I can’t call you a rat because you’re not even a hamster”

BarcelonaThe referee from Lleida Xavier Estrada Fernández has taken the audios of a seminar of the Technical Committee of Arbitrators (CTA) to the social court number 32 of Madrid where, without mentioning him directly, he feels like the president of the body, Luis Medina Cantalejo, insults and threatens him. It is another example of the war between Estrada Fernández and the CTA, which adds a new chapter that leaves Medina Cantalejo in a very compromised position.

Last week, the trial was held to determine whether the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) violated Estrada’s fundamental rights and the Catalan’s lawyers presented the audios of the aforementioned CTA seminar. The president of the CTA took the floor and, in front of 160 referees and reporters, attacked one of those present: “Calling you a rat seems too much to me, I think you are neither a hamster nor a mouse. You’re a character who may not have reached his sporting milestones and now you’re showing why. You wanted to download the meeting, didn’t you?”

The meeting that Medina Cantalejo was referring to was the press conference where he himself appeared together with Andreu Camps, secretary general of the RFEF. On that day, all members were forced to make an appearance to convey an image of unity, but there was one that did not go through the tube: Estrada Fernández.

A few days earlier, the man from Lleida had denounced José María Enríquez Negreira, former vice-president of the CTA, in anticipation of the Prosecutor’s Office. This decision did not please Medina Cantalejo, accustomed to the obedience of his subordinates, and he lost his temper to the point of defining Estrada as “a traitor and a bad companion”.

The threats to Estrada Fernández: “I will kick you out”

In the content of the audios, a belligerent Medina Cantalejo is perceived, with a tone unbecoming of a president, who is not satisfied with the string of insults but also cries out for revenge: “At some point you will stick your paw and I will out, even if it’s the last thing you do on the CTA. I’ll kick you out with all the bad milk I have, which you know is sometimes a lot. But not now. I won’t waste a single bit of adrenaline on you. Be careful, because if we catch you we will fuck you in the street because you are the biggest disgrace in the history of Spanish refereeing”.

After this episode of maximum tension, the rest of the referees, reporters and managers kept silent and then proceeded to analyze the controversial plays of the day.

The chronology of the case, filled with low blows

On February 24, Estrada Fernández files a complaint against Enríquez Negreira and his son. On March 2, Medina Cantalejo calls the media and defines Estrada as a “traitor”. On March 31, the arbitrator from Lleida reports to the RFEF to claim his labor rights. The audio seminar is held in April. On May 17, a crucial event occurs: José Alcoba, a former assistant referee and also specific to VAR, wins the trial against the Federation and has the right to receive compensation or return to his job. A devastating precedent that favors the interests of the complaining members. That same day, the conciliation act was held between Estrada and the RFEF, without any agreement being reached. May 20 they send Estrada Fernández to a van to carry out their VAR duties. An unjustifiable comparative grievance, since two First Division matches and the unified Second Division match were played at the same time. All his colleagues were able to work from the VOR rooms located in the Las Rozas building. On May 21, Vinicius was sent off at Mestalla. The CTA used the controversy with Madrid as a pretext to remove all VAR referees for theoretically sporting criteria. The reality, however, was far from what they wanted to believe. By then, all the referees had followed the path marked by Estrada and were on a war footing against the Federation.

2023-07-18 10:12:55
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