Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz will not be assigned any further games at the 2022 World Cup and will now return home.
Lahoz took charge of Argentina’s quarter-final clash with the Netherlands on Friday, brandishing 17 yellow cards and one red as La Albiceleste won on penalties following a dramatic 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.
However, his handling of the game was criticised by players, staff and fans alike, with the Oranje particularly annoyed at the lack of 50/50 calls in their favour as the match played out.
According to Spanish outlet COPE, Lahoz has been informed that he will not be handed any further games this tournament and is now heading back to his homeland.
However, Spain’s three other officials at the World Cup will remain in Qatar as they may still be relied upon as video assistant referees.
Lahoz was notably called out by Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martinez on Friday night despite their win, with the latter pleading for him not to be handed another Argentina match.
Messi said: “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.”
Martinez added: “The referee was just giving everything for them. He gave 10 minutes [stoppage time] for no reason. He was giving free-kicks outside the box for them, like two, three times. He just wanted them to score, that’s basically it. So, hopefully we don’t have that ref anymore. He’s useless.”