"I am very grateful to the football and refereeing, but my honesty and my credibility are above all", explains Eduardo Iturralde Gonzelez his farewell from refereeing. The referee with the most matches in Primera Division has decided to hang up his whistle early, although he would have been age-eligible until the end of 2012. The referee from Vizcaya has taken this decision after a disagreement with the Spanish Referees Committee following his injury during the game Betis Sevilla – Real Madrid. Iturralde suffered a puncture in the muscle during the first half of the match and was replaced at half time by the fourth official, Gorka Sagues. After recovering from the injury, he has not been appointed to any matches due to a somewhat surreal situation: the Referees Committee requested a medical proof for his injury, but Iturralde was not able to provide it because he had not requested any medical certificate.
"The truth has to be ahead of everything. I cannot provide a certificate because I do not have one. How can I cheat by submitting a certificate that did not exist in the first place? My honesty and my credibility are above all this", said Iturralde Gonzalez. After 31 years of refereeing, he chose to retire instead of providing a document that would distort the reality. The recommendations to reconsider this decision did not make him change his mind. He had consulted with his wife and daughters, and always came to the same point: "Lying? Never!" Iturralde spent 15 years (1998 - 2012) on the FIFA List and was selected for the 2002 UEFA U-21 Euro, 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2004 OFC Nations Cup. He did El Clasico, Real – Barcelona, three times: 1999, 2005 and 2010. Iturralde goes into the history of Spanish refereeing with the record for the most games refereed in the Spanish First Division, 291, since his debut on 3 September 1995, Espanyol – Salamanca. It also carries two other records: the most yellow cards (1647), and most penalty kicks awarded (104). He hang up his whistle with a feeling of profound gratitude to the football and refereeing, but convinced that his conscience would not let him carry out what he was demanded by the Referees Committee. When he ended the first half of the Primera Division match Betis Sevilla – Real Madrid, on 10 March 2012, Iturralde Gonzalez blew the last whistle of his career.