Saturday May 23 2020
Rizzoli: 'Referees have concerns too'

Refereeing designator Nicola Rizzoli confirms the officials also have ‘concerns’ about playing during a pandemic, but at least it’ll stop players crowding around a referee to protest.

Group training resumed this week and the plan is to begin Serie A matches from June 13 or 20.

“We are ready for the season to restart and await news from the Government meeting on May 28,” Rizzoli told Rai Radio 1.

“As soon as we know exactly what the medical protocol is, we can begin to adopt the strategy to get back on the pitch. For now it’s just suggestions, but the referees have been training for some time to keep up their fitness levels.”

Some players have concerns about resuming matches during a pandemic and Rizzoli admits referees are in the same situation.

“There is some worry, some issues that need to be resolved and we’re waiting to see how the various steps will be addressed to ensure we can resume in safety.

“We officials have different concerns to clubs, because we have 80 people coming from all over Italy and they will need to travel. It’s about being very careful indeed.”

It was pointed out that the medical protocol for Serie A matches includes not going within two metres of the referee, which would effectively cut down the habit of players crowding around the official to protest.

“We have the opportunity to do something new after this emergency situation,” added Rizzoli.

“If we realise that protests are pointless and respect is fundamental, we could all benefit from that. Clearly that protests will have to be done differently to usual, as there has to be reciprocal respect of social distancing measures and a warning if not a yellow card if anyone breaches that.”