Monday October 21 2019
'De Ligt handball never a penalty'

Referees chief Marcello Nicchi insists Matthijs de Ligt’s handball “was never a penalty” and urges fans to “stop coming to games” if they think otherwise.

De Ligt drew controversy during Juventus’ 2-1 win against Bologna on Saturday as his clear handball in the box went unpunished, but Nicchi made it clear both the referee and VAR had applied the rules correctly.

“That, as per regulation, was never a penalty,” the AIA President told Radio Anch’io Sport.

“The rules are clear. I’d like the fans to understand the rules and, at games, accept the rules and decisions.

“Whoever thinks rules are applied on the basis of a shirt must stop coming to games.

“The referees are working well, they’re applying the rules well. The problem is something else: the experts don’t know the new rules well.

“It’s thought that there’s too much confusion over handballs, but it’s all very clear.

“The referees are doing very well and we mustn’t forget the roles that each of us have.

“We talk a lot about racism and other things, but when a referee is attacked verbally then we’re not surprised if, during lower-League games, those protests turn into kicks and punches.”

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