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Real Madrid ‘adulterating’ La Liga: Barca coach Xavi

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez complained Friday rivals Real Madrid are influencing referees “every week” and said it meant La Liga was “completely adulterated”.

Los Blancos lead La Liga by two points from Girona and sit 10 clear of champions Barcelona, down in fourth place.

Real Madrid’s television channel has broadcast hours of controversial content this season attacking referees.

“I don’t like that they are influencing referees and they are doing it every week. I think it adulterates the competition a bit,” Xavi, who will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, told a news conference.

Barcelona and several of the club’s former directors were charged with bribery last year after payments to a former Spanish refereeing chief, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

The Catalan club denies their payments of over seven million euros ($7.5 million) were an attempt to influence refereeing.

“The Negreira topic has not helped us at all, and that’s a reality — and this is how we have to compete,” continued Xavi.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said earlier Friday that Real Madrid television’s content was “shameful” and the club was not “behaving well”.

Laporta criticised refereeing of a recent Madrid game against Almeria where Carlo Ancelotti’s side were losing 2-0 but won 3-2 with three controversial VAR decisions going their way.

“We saw a disgrace in the game against Almeria,” said Laporta, speaking to RAC1 radio station.

“And they will say that the referees are helping Barca — we are very angry and we don’t accept it.”

Xavi said he was shocked that Madrid were allowed to keep running videos attacking officials.

“It surprises me a lot that we allow this, that it’s permitted,” said the coach.

“It adulterates the competition completely, week after week — even the blind can see it.

“(Atletico coach) Diego Simeone said it, no? We are not stupid. The world sees it.”

Simeone was asked last week about VAR audio clips from Madrid’s match against Almeria and said officials “think we are stupid, and it makes us angry”.

Madrid coach Ancelotti said he thought officials made the correct decisions at every juncture in his team’s win over Almeria.

Barcelona visit Alaves on Saturday while Real Madrid host third-place Atletico Madrid in a derby clash Sunday.

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