Italy’s referees outlined the change in interpretation of the offside rule and why players must “trust” them to deal with racist abuse.
The officials had their pre-season get-together today and went through the various situations that could arise in 2013-14.
This includes an adjustment to the offside rule, where an unintentional deflection will no longer be considered enough to put an opponent in play.
“The term ‘play the ball’ has been clarified very well,” explained Nicola Rizzoli on Sky Sport Italia.
“It means the movement of the player towards the ball, to intercept it, which is different to the concept of a deflection.”
Therefore if a pass from Team A is deflected off a player from Team B and the ricochet sends a player from Team A clear on goal, Team B did not play the ball and his original offside position stands.
The referees also discussed the recent events in the Trofeo TIM, when Milan’s Kevin Constant stormed off after claiming he heard racist abuse from the stands.
An investigation found nobody else in the stadium had heard the insult, including players, officials and pitch-side microphones.
“The players must allow us to make the decisions and stay on the field,” noted Gianluca Rocchi.
“We have the tools to deal with racist chants or noises, though these are not always immediately recognisable in a match situation. The players have to trust us.”
The protocol for racist abuse from the crowd is for the referee to stop play and a warning sent over the loudspeaker. If it persists, the referee can halt play for longer or abandon the game.