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Did FIFA Ban Mateu Lahoz After the Argentina-Netherlands Quarterfinal?

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
15th December 2022
Did FIFA Ban Mateu Lahoz After the Argentina-Netherlands Quarterfinal?
Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was sent home (Getty)

Foreign and Arab media outlets have recently reported that the International Football Association (FIFA) asked Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz to return home and withdraw from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The accusation was made after controversy arose regarding his officiating of the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands in the 2022 World Cup.

Media outlets published the news with headlines such as "FIFA grants Messi's wish," "The referee returned home after receiving yellow cards," and "FIFA sends the controversial referee home."

Misbar researched multiple news articles published on Spanish sports websites that disseminated the information.

The Spanish news outlet Cope broke the story on Sunday, December 11.

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Cope reported that Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz had left the Qatar World Cup, citing the Spanish sports radio program Tiempo de Juego for the information.

After the quarterfinal match between the Netherlands and Argentina, the program stated on Sunday that the referees' participation in the World Cup had concluded.

The program did not indicate whether the referee was sent home or left the tournament normally upon completion of his duties.

The broadcast revealed that he had returned to Spain while other referees remained in Qatar to continue officiating the remaining matches.

Argentina and Netherlands Players Brawl

The Netherlands were eliminated from the 2022 Qatar World Cup after Argentina defeated them on penalties.

Moreover, Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the semifinals to advance to the World Cup final.

Verbal and physical altercations occurred between the players of the two teams, prompting the referee to issue numerous yellow cards to the players of Argentina and the Netherlands.

According to Cope, Mateu Lahoz said the Netherlands-Argentina match was his hardest.

Messi said in a post-match interview, "I don't want to speak about referees because after they will sanction you. But people saw what happened."

"I think FIFA must take care of this, it cannot put a referee like that for a match of such magnitude, of such importance. The referee cannot fail to be up to the task." Messi added.

Other Argentine players also complained that the referee was "biased."

The referee added 10 minutes of extra time to the match and awarded a number of free kicks to the Netherlands team without providing an explanation.

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International sports outlets speculate Lahoz will not referee the 2022 World Cup again. 

He was expected to officiate the final, with other nominations revolving around Wilton Sampaio.

According to other reports, Mateu Lahoz officiated his final World Cup in 2022, having previously officiated the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Moreover, he may referee the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

FIFA Did Not Comment on Lahoz's Exclusion 

After conducting a direct search on FIFA's official website, Misbar discovered that FIFA had neither announced Lahoz's exclusion for his decisions in the Argentina-Netherlands match nor published any related reports.

In addition to the news of Lahoz's exclusion, FIFA excludes a number of referees after each round of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

In major tournaments such as the World Cup, the majority of referees are typically eliminated after the first round, and the number of referees is gradually reduced until the championship match.

The 2022 World Cup Semi-Finals Referees

FIFA has announced that Italian referee Daniele Orsato would officiate the match between Argentina and Croatia.

Meanwhile, the match between Morocco and France was assigned to the Mexican official César Ramos.

Misbar’s Sources


Daily Star

Al Jazeera






Tiempo de Juego COPE

Indian Posten

Daily Mail