The referee who awarded Real Madrid a last-minute penalty that controversially allowed them to beat Elche earlier this week is enduring a torrid time.
He has been informally suspended from duty, after his decision to penalise Elche for a foul on Madrid defender Pepe.
According to AS, Muniz Fernandez was forced to flee a restaurant from the backdoor on Thursday, after journalists confronted him while he ate his lunch!
And the head of the referees’ association in Spain, Victoriano Sanchez Arminio, who has never given such a statement to the media before, even told AS: “I would not have given that penalty. But sometimes you get it right and sometimes you do not. That is the way it is.”
Debate continues to rage over whether Pepe was the victim or aggressor, in the incident that ultimately saw Madrid save their blushes against promoted Elche.
And ref chief Sanchez Arminio admits that the ref in question- Muniz Fernandez- is suffering as a result of the attention.
It is “not a good moment for him, maybe he had some personal problem, or something which caused this,” he said.
“The players do not help you at all. Just the opposite -- they try to trick you.”
When a ref is removed from action in Spain it is known as being ‘put in the freezer’.
Elche remain aggrieved at what they consider to be a “robbery”, and they are not convinced that the ref’s punishment will change things for smaller teams in La Liga going forward.
"In the freezer?," Elche midfielder Ruben Perez huffed sardonically to AS.
"With a lot of ice , or with none? The referees always whistle in favour of the big teams, but this was too much."