LOOK: Villarreal infuriated after game officials are spotted with Real Madrid merchandise postgame

Soccer has a long and dark history of matches being either fixed, wagered upon, or outright manipulated by special interest. FIFA, in particular, has a black stain on their reputation after rampant institutional bias, illegal bribery, and money laundering were revealed by US investigators back in 2015.

This time around, controversy surrounding bias comes at the club level in the Spanish professional league, La Liga. In a match between Villarreal and world-renowned Real Madrid, there has been an outcry of favoritism after the game officials were seen touting Real Madrid paraphernalia.

Fox Sports relayed information regarding the controversy taking European soccer by storm:

“Villarreal president Fernando Roig has publicly complained about spotting refs with Real Madrid bags after the Spanish giants came from behind to beat Villarreal 3-2 on Sunday.

“What has surprised me and made me laugh is that the referees have come out with Real Madrid bags,” Roig told a Spanish radio station. “They were carrying bags of Real Madrid. I don’t know what they had in those bags.”

He added in comments to Marca: “I just don’t think it’s a good image. They tell me it’s common. But they have not come out with Villarreal bags.”

According to Marca, the Spanish Referees’ Committee said that the bags carried by the referees included Real Madrid merchandise like “keychains, pins and pens.”

The situation was made far worse when put into context with what occurred in the actual game:

“But the issue has been made worse by a dubious call on Sunday that helped Real Madrid win and reclaim the top La Liga spot.

With Real Madrid down 2-1 at Villarreal, a handball penalty was awarded to the visitors, which allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to equalize and has ended up being a controversial decision. From there, Real Madrid rallied and roared back to a 3-2 finish.”

Written by Dylan Bair

Writer of all things college sports including, but not limited to, Michigan State football and basketball, college football in every facet, and hard opinions about the Big Ten and college sports in general. Also, an avid soccer and NBA fan with a deep knowledge-base that hopefully translates well to all of the fans reading. Thanks for the time and effort in reading my work! It means a lot to get the support for the thing I love most.

John Beilein and Tom Izzo

Bracketology Update: Both Wolverines and Spartans SHOULD be dancing now after strong weeks

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 1.26.47 AM

WATCH: Togo striker Francis Kone saves opposing goalkeeper’s life after collision