Friday August 1 2014
Refs on spray, offside and racism

Italian referees have announced more protection for goalkeepers, the vanishing spray and a clampdown on racism.

The AIA (Italian Referees’ Association) had its get-together at Sportilia and discussed the common approaches they will take in Serie A, B and Lega Pro this season.

The big change is the introduction of the vanishing spray, used with great effect at the World Cup in Brazil, to ensure distances are kept on set plays.

“There will in fact be two spray cans, as one will be at the disposal of the Fourth Official,” explained new designator Domenico Messina.

The offside rule suffers another tweak, as from now on there will be further protection for goalkeepers and punishment of any opponent blocking his view, even if the player is not contributing to the move.

The FIGC will elect its new President on August 11 and AIA chief Marcello Nicchi hinted referees would not be voting for racism-row candidate Carlo Tavecchio.

“If on the pitch a referee hears a player using a racist term, that player is quite simply sent off. On the field you cannot and must not accept that.

“You can see the difference between the AIA and the other institutions, as we have always avoided controversy. We accept the rules because then we have to impose them on others.”

It has been a successful year for Italian referees, as Nicola Rizzoli was chosen for the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina after he officiated the 2013 Champions League Final.

“I am very disappointed and angry that people talk about everything in Italian football, but not the attacks on our referees. Last season we had 119 referees sent to the emergency room with injuries. We have to intervene.”

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