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Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo miˈɣel maˈtew laˈoθ]; born 12 March 1977) is a Spanish association football referee who has refereed La Liga matches since 2008. He is also an international referee with experience in several editions of the FIFA World Cup. He is known for his talkative and “quirky” approach to refereeing: The Guardian has described him as the football star “who doesn’t actually play but doesn’t half perform”.
Early & personal life
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz was born on 12 March 1977 [ bốn ] in Algímia d’Alfara, a village in Valencia Province on Spain’s eastern coast. He has a large family, with two brothers & three sisters. His elder brother, mother & late father influenced his decision béo take up refereeing ; [ 1 ] in part, the family’s need for money after his father passing young prompted him phệ move into refereeing full-time rather than becoming a footballer. He played in the Segunda División B [ ba ] và was a physical education teacher before becoming a football referee. His elder sister also works as a teacher, & he has said he could see himself continuing in that career when he retires from refereeing. [ 1 ] He lives in Valencia & has two sons. [ tam ]
Mateu Lahoz in 2010In 2008, Mateu Lahoz began working as a referee in La Liga. Since then, he has established himself as one of the most prominent referees in Spain. [ 5 ] Considered unpopular among Spanish football fans, Mateu Lahoz is known for allowing matches bự descend into chaos by not reacting béo play, & then drawing more attention phệ himself than the game through bizarre discussions with players & making controversial decisions. [ 6 ] Mateu Lahoz has said that refereeing is his happiness, while reflecting on the importance of the role. [ 1 ] [ 7 ]In 2012, he refereed in the Supercopa de España. [ 5 ] It was around this giây phút that he first became known for a particular phong cách, as it was commented on by then – Real Madrid manager José Mourinho ; this response was praise, with Mourinho finding it a pleasant difference that Mateu Lahoz preferred talking bự players end immediately disciplining them, và that what he did kept the game moving. [ tam ] Barcelona manager Xavi also said, years later, that he found Mateu Lahoz talking a lot phệ be positive when he was a player ( for Barcelona ) around that giây phút ; the Barcelona manager of the thời gian, Pep Guardiola, reportedly ” wasn’t such a người hâm mộ “. [ tám ]Mateu Lahoz was the referee in năm trước Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid và main rivals Barcelona. [ 9 ] In May năm trước, he stood out for booking Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for dissent when Messi protested an offside Call ; shown phệ be onside, Mateu Lahoz supposedly apologised for the mistake after the game. [ tám ] After a 2018 match in which a number of Mateu Lahoz ‘ reportedly questionable decisions went against Barcelona, player Gerard Piqué had béo be physically restrained when approaching him after the match. [ 10 ] In 2019, Mateu Lahoz had another notable run-in with Barcelona, showing two red cards in a minute : the first lớn Ronald Araújo for a reportedly debatable professional foul, the second a straight red lớn Ousmane Dembélé for supposedly protesting that decision. The severity of the second thẻ was criticised, as was the application of a thẻ at all, with Messi noting that Dembélé did not speak Spanish & questioning how he would have thus been able Khủng dissent. [ tám ]A clip of Mateu Lahoz went viral on 2 April 2022 ; he was in charge a La Liga match between RCD Mallorca & Getafe when he gave four yellow cards in a single second. Having let a row break out between the teams, he brought two players from each side end béo him before showing his thẻ béo each of them in an arc. Not seen in the clip, Mateu Lahoz then ran kết thúc bự a fifth player phệ thẻ him. [ 11 ] More controversially, Mateu Lahoz awarded a penalty béo Getafe for handball, và sent off the Mallorca defender, Franco Russo. The most notable point of the match was Mateu Lahoz approaching Getafe striker Enes Ünal in the tunnel at half-time bự say Ünal ” owed him one ” ; having shown Ünal a yellow thẻ in the first half, spectators were surprised when Mateu Lahoz did not send off Ünal after he then elbowed Russo. Ünal và Russo were two of the four shown yellows at once. Mallorca filed formal complaints with both La Liga & the Royal Spanish Football Federation ( RFEF ) regarding Mateu Lahoz ‘ decisions. [ 12 ] [ 13 ] In response, the arbitration committee sat him out for two matchdays, reported mập be for what he said phệ Ünal. [ 13 ]
On 31 December 2022, Mateu Lahoz refereed the end-of-year Catalan derby between Barcelona and local rivals Espanyol. Mateu Lahoz was already subject to criticism at the time, following a high-profile FIFA World Cup match in which he handed out many cards. Partway through the first half, he stopped play and sprinted across the pitch to talk to and kiss Barcelona manager Xavi. He gave 15 yellow cards, including 2 to the Barcelona bench, and 4 reds, one overturned by VAR (also reported as 16 yellows and 3 reds with one overturned), during the match, which became particularly chaotic towards the end. The match ended in a draw; Xavi told the press after the match that he did not blame Mateu Lahoz for the result, but had told him at the end of the match that he had lost control (for which he received a yellow card). The Athletic wrote that while Mateu Lahoz did not get any major calls wrong during the match, “there is a feeling among players and coaches that when a situation gets heated and players start to lose their heads, he is unable to calm things down.” It also questioned whether it was appropriate for the RFEF to have assigned Mateu Lahoz to the match, considering both his history (with Barcelona and then-recently in Qatar) and pre-existing tensions between the clubs meaning it would likely be very heated.
Mateu Lahoz then refereed a Copa del Rey match between Sevilla and Linares Deportivo on 5 January 2023, showing a red card to Sevilla’s manager after 17 minutes, the only card shown in this match. The RFEF did not assign him to another match in any capacity for two weeks, with the arbitration committee saying his absence was not a punishment. Goal reported that Mateu Lahoz may retire at the end of the season, before he was given a refereeing appointment on 19 January; CCMA suggested that he was brought back into refereeing as two other officials, who had made a particularly notable error, were sat out.
Since 2011, he has been a FIFA listed international referee. [ 5 ] He worked as a referee in the năm trước FIFA World Cup qualifiers ; [ 20 ] at the năm nay Summer Olympics in Brazil ; [ bốn ] the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia ( & its qualifiers ) ; [ 21 ] [ 22 ] the ae888 meta
Euro 2020 ; [ 1 ] và the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. [ 23 ]
He refereed a 2018 Champions League quarter-final match between Manchester City and Liverpool, during which Pep Guardiola, Manchester City’s Spanish manager, notably addressed him on the pitch when half-time came. Guardiola was then sent off in the second half, for speaking to Mateu Lahoz after he disallowed a City goal; Guardiola responded that he had been polite and so getting sent off was too much, also saying that “Mateu Lahoz is a special guy, he likes to be different, he likes to be special. He’s a referee who likes to feel different, he’s special.” The Offside Rule wrote that Mateu Lahoz allowed incidents between players to flare up by not paying attention to the game, and described the disallowed goal in this match as “a catastrophic error”. On 29 May 2021, Mateu Lahoz refereed the 2021 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea. A more natural game, he still produced a much-discussed moment when he helped Antonio Rüdiger, on the ground injured, to stand up, then immediately showed him a yellow card.
On 25 November 2022, Mateu Lahoz refereed Qatar ‘ s second match of their home page World Cup, which left them in a position phệ be the worst-performing host of a World Cup ; Football365 said he was ” the single bravest referee at the tournament ” for his decision béo not even consider awarding Qatar a penalty after an incident in the box. [ 27 ] On 9 December 2022, Mateu Lahoz was the referee in the quarter-final match between the Netherlands và Argentina at the World Cup ; he issued a record 18 yellow cards ( béo 15 players, including two bự Denzel Dumfries that saw him sent off after both the match & penalty shoot-out had concluded, và lớn Argentina’s manager và assistant manager ). [ tám ] [ 23 ] [ 28 ] The number of cards, as well as their use, was criticised : some were deemed too harsh và some too lenient, with other incidents in the match Mateu Lahoz allowed Khủng break into a brawl involving the entire Dutch substitutes ‘ bench getting completely overlooked. [ 23 ] [ 29 ] [ 30 ] Đài truyền hình BBC Thể Thao ‘ s Emma Smith wrote in her match báo cáo that he ” did not help matters, mập be kind. To be unkind, he had an absolute shocker – brandishing his yellow thẻ with abandon ratcheted up tensions considerably, & by the phút giây he finally showed red mập Dumfries, he had long since lost all control. ” Smith also noted various players ‘ unimpressed reactions béo the referee. [ 23 ] Argentina would go on mập chiến hạ this World Cup, [ 31 ] while CBS Sports reported that Mateu Lahoz had been sent trang chính after the match. [ 32 ]
Mateu Lahoz brandishing a yellow thẻ in a 2019 Champions League game
Mateu Lahoz has distinguished himself from his peers in refereeing for many years, though his quirks in arbitration have changed over time. Initially noted for being particularly talkative, which some saw as preferable to being strict and others found too lenient and distracting, his particular style has reportedly become more erratic: at points he may opt to converse with players at large, while at others he will directly give cards for minor infractions, including to people asking him about other cards. English journalist of Spanish football Sid Lowe coined the term “mateulahozing” as a verb to describe refereeing that draws attention to itself. The manner in which Mateu Lahoz shows players cards, “striding over and thrusting yellow cards in their faces”, is said to be one source of his notoriety. Mateu Lahoz is considered by Spanish football media to be one of the most unpopular referees in Spain, along with Alejandro Hernández Hernández, and has been compared to English referee Mike Dean, also known for “producing multiple bizarre moments on the pitch.”
In Spain, Mateu Lahoz has been widely accused of being a người hâm mộ of Real Madrid, due phệ his decisions in matches featuring them or their rivals often benefitting Real Madrid ; fans of the club argue that, while his decisions against other teams have helped Real Madrid, he has also made controversial calls that have not helped them, và is an inconsistent referee in general. [ 6 ] Discussions of Mateu Lahoz ‘ calls often involve the rivalry between Real Madrid & Barcelona, further contributed mập by Barcelona figures feeling he lacks match control & Real Madrid manager ( as of 2023 ) Carlo Ancelotti instead favouring him, saying that ” Mateu Lahoz is the best referee in Spain và in Europe “. [ tám ] Though considered unpopular among fans, [ 6 ] there are also people who enjoy his refereeing for its entertainment value ; Lowe has pointed bự this as a reason why comical hatred of Mateu Lahoz is unfair, also arguing that while he is attention-seeking, Spanish fans & truyền thông have been happy phệ give him that attention. [ ba ]He became an international ” pantomime villain ” of football in December 2022 [ 33 ] – in this month he refereed just two matches, both particularly high-profile, while handing out kết thúc 35 cards. [ ba ] From these games, he has the records for handing out the most cards in a World Cup match & the most cards in a La Liga match. [ 18 ] [ a ] Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who ” somehow survived ” playing both of these matches without receiving a thẻ, said it was ” chaos [ … ] I don’t know what happened exactly “. After the first of the matches, the 2022 World Cup quarter-final between the Netherlands & Argentina, Spanish fans were reportedly grateful for Mateu Lahoz ‘ performance ; [ ba ] notorious in Spain và somewhat recognised for his previous international exploits, [ 2 ] the prominent match revealed the lack of unique in Spanish refereeing in general & ” everyone else finally knew what they [ Spanish teams ] were up against “. [ tam ] In 2021, Mateu Lahoz told UEFA that ” part of [ the ] job is trying béo help the players và coaches. If you can bởi this và be relaxed, then you’ll relax them, you can communicate together, & making decisions can be much easier. ” [ 1 ] [ 7 ]
- Reports on the matches differ in total thẻ count, both due mập the number và timing of cards making it confusing even on the referee’s báo cáo, và with some sources counting two yellows converted phệ reds và others not. Counting cards physically shown & not discounted, Mateu Lahoz showed 19 in each of these matches, for a total of 38 .