Chievo President Luca Campedelli has come out in defence of Sergio Pellissier amid the ongoing controversy from the booking he received last weekend.
Late in the first half of Chievo’s 2-1 defeat to Udinese when the score-line was still goalless, Pellissier fell under the challenge of Mehdi Benatia’s in the opposition penalty box. However, whilst replays backed up the Mussi Volanti’s claims for a penalty, referee Paolo Valeri booked the striker for simulation.
Coach Mimmo Di Carlo has already lamented the significance and injustice of the decision whilst Pellissier himself came out on Wednesday to imply it is enough to make him consider retirement.
Following this, Campedelli has given a rare interview, with L’Arena, to offer his reaction to the situation, explain Pellissier’s comments and appeal to referees in Italy.
“I hope, indeed, I am sure, that Sergio has spoken so as to let off some steam. He is someone who feels things strongly, has great sensitivity and is bothered by injustice.
“Above all, he does not agree that his honesty is being called into question. Imagine it…Sergio is someone that still stands even when he could throw himself to the floor. Sometimes I ask him, ‘why do you stand at all costs?’
“There is no need for a slow motion replay to see it. The foul was there, we have seen it even from the stands. Unfortunately, it is not the first time this has happened, slow motion gives us the truth but what we then know…we do not need to know, it only serves to increase the anger.
“It is an amazing thing. Pellissier, who had been highlighted as an example of fair play by the referees in their meeting. Sergio is an honest person and the referees know.
“The fact is sometimes the feeling is that a wrong against Chievo, against a small club, is in fact less severe. The next day no-one talks about it, it it is forgotten.
“Today, who remembers that that was a penalty from Benatia on Sergio? We were at 0-0, the game could have possibly ended otherwise, who knows…”
The President was asked if he was talking about two separate rules for two types of clubs in the League.
“I don’t know, it is an argument as old as football. I do not speak of bad faith. If I thought it then I’d already be out of football. I would not be here to suffer every Sunday.
“But certain instances make you think, especially if they happen to fall only one way. We all make mistakes, I do, so do the players, the referees too. But if mistakes always happen in a certain way, strange thoughts enter your head.
“What if the same foul had happened on [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic for example? I’ve often read complaints from Coaches and Presidents who speak of ‘champions who need to be protected’. Well, I say it too about Pellissier, just like everyone else.”
Campedelli, however, stopped short of allowing the instance to distract from the team’s priorities and ongoing League performance.
“I do not want this to become an alibi, that would be a mistake. I know that with two or three penalties, against Juventus, Atalanta and Udinese for example, we might have a few more points. But the reasoning is still wrong.
“I only ask for respect for Chievo as all teams deserve it, regardless of history, number of fans etc etc. If it is a penalty for one team, it can be for Chievo. That’s it. No favours, of course. Never more or less than you deserve on the field.”