MADRID: The English Premier League is not the only one where controversy erupts every weekend over one refereeing decision or another; Spanish football is being blighted by the same distraction writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

On the day that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was asked by the FA to explain Sunday’s comments about an assistant’s decision, so Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar was defending his own country’s match officials.

Villar is a vice-president of FIFA and UEFA and is also president of the world federation’s referees committee.

“Spanish football is very honest and the refereeing standard is exceptional,” he told a local radio station.

“We have had some incidents which have not been up to scratch but I must say that Spanish football sets an example not only to Spanish society in general but to the rest of the world.

“Every season we have complaints about results being deliberately fixed but no-one every brings forward any proof.

“Spanish referees are among the best in the world and, as in every other country, some are better than others. But, overall, our refereeing organisation is very good, as I said, among the best in the world.”

Villar has been pointed up as a candidate for the FIFA presidency, by current incumbent Sepp Blatter, in 2015.

Ferguson complaints

Back in England Ferguson criticised assistant referee Simon Beck after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The Scot considered the linesman’s performance as “shocking,” particularly the failure to award a penalty to Wayne Rooney early in the second half after a tussle with Steven Caulker.

Ferguson also claimed that Beck had failed to spot that a Didier Drogba winner at Old Trafford back in 2010 was offside, a result which effectively handed the title to Chelsea that season. He has until Thursday evening to respond to the FA request for an explanation and risks a touchline ban or fine.

On Boxing Day the United manager berated referee Mike Dean at half-time during his side’s 4-3 win over Newcastle. The FA took no action.