Friday March 7 2014
Nicchi: Clubs use referees as excuse

Head of the Referees’ Association Marcello Nicchi says Serie A sides complain about match officials to deflect attention away from themselves.

Rhetoric in recent weeks has returned to the men dressed in luminous yellow following a number of contentious decisions in games.

Fiorentina have notably had a run-in of late with complaints against the standard of refereeing in recent games, whilst Inter have drawn attention to their struggles to be awarded a penalty so far this season.

For the AIA’s President, the issue is in Italy’s culture, rather than in the referees themselves.

“I’m tempted to smile. We are always ready to acknowledge our mistakes,” Nicchi [pictured, right] has explained in the Gazzetta dello Sport today.

“I tell you further, we have the duty to make as few as possible, to improve. But as good as we can be, one thing I can guarantee - there will always be oversights. Otherwise, we would not be human. Maybe we can be traded in for robots…

“Some mistakes are more sensational than others? There are four-five sensational episodes during a season. That is the norm in all countries.

“Indeed, abroad there are more, just that there it is a different culture and these issues are resolves inside a couple of hours.

“They prefer to talk about football, tactics and training. It seems to me that Prandelli has always launched a similar warning. But, maybe it is easier to raise a fuss, to blame the referees.

“Referees have no fans. If someone wants to shift the focus away from the flop of their team, they know that it is enough to talk about us. It is an easy excuse, to get a grip on public opinion.

“There is talk of conspiracy, allegiance, errors in command and other trivialities like that. And it can camouflage their limits.

“That’s why I talk about a wrong culture - it will not change just like that. We must start from the schools, explain that the referee is a part of the game, and can make a mistake just like a striker can.”

Nicchi was asked about the recent focus on introducing the use of television replays to assist match officials.

“Let’s be clear, the officials apply the rules, not make them. On technology, the likes of IFAB, FIFA and UEFA are opposed. And if we are honest, the request for replays on the field is a craze in Italy - other Football Federations care little or at all about it.”

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