If nothing else, Tigres UANL coach Ricardo ‘Tuca’ Ferreti is a very blunt man who speaks his mind and then worries about the consequences of what he has said later on. This has made for some interesting press conferences over his two decades as a coach in Mexico‘s first division. After his Tigres side lost 3-0 to Club America in their Liga MX Clausura 2014 opener, Ferreti may have gone too far with his comments.
In the post-game press conference, Ferreti went ahead and laid the vast majority if not all the blame for his team’s loss on the referee Ricardo Arellano who in the first half of the game failed to make certain calls which would have gone in favor Tigres, including a couple of non-penalty calls. He essentially stated that every team that plays Club America from here on out needs to keep in mind that they are playing against 12 men, clearly insinuating that America and the referees are in cahoots with each other. It goes without saying that such statements are reckless, damaging and need to be punished by Liga MX officials.
Now I know that many people are going to say there is some truth to that statement, and the referees do favor the big clubs, especially in Mexico. Saying that nowadays is clearly being lazy, operating under the assumption of past hearsay and ignores the current reality. The fact of the matter is that while Arellano had a bad performance last Saturday, his performance failures were not due to the fact that he was ordered or felt obligated to help America win the game; they were due to the fact that he had a bad day at the office while highlighting a number of deficiencies related to the preparation and working of referees in Mexico.
Frankly this is not just a Mexico problem as deficiencies in adequately preparing and helping professional referees, especially those who work first division games, is an issue everywhere around the world with an average to above average first division soccer league. I could write a column alone about this issue. Ferreti, a man who has been around a while, is well aware of this, and for him to say the referee was intentionally helping America win the game was wrong, out of line and he knows it.
While he gave the appearance to have backtracked from some of his comments on Monday, he still did not fully do so. With that it left no doubt that he needs to be punished and reprimanded by the league. To turn things around and make Tuca look ridiculous, I would like to ask him if the referee was intentionally helping Tigres out last season when they beat Atlas 1-0 in a game that saw them seal passage into the Apertura 2013 playoffs. It was a game the referee made and or failed to make a number of calls that saw Atlas play with two men sent-off incorrectly while not awarding a penalty shot. To use Tuca’s words, was the referee in cahoots with Tigres on that night or will Tuca say he is human and had a bad night at the job?
The worst part about Tuca’s referee comments are that they have overshadowed what was a bad display by his team and some bad tactical decisions in his part. Tuca himself had to recognize that even if the referee made the right calls on the ones in focus, Tigres did not deserve to win and would not have won or even drawn given that they did nothing to give themselves a chance to win. A multi-game suspension and a big fine will make him think twice about making such out of line statements in the future.