Monday March 5 2012
Refs’ association: Roma red ‘absurd’

Head of the Italian referees’ association (AIA) Marcello Nicchi believes that the rule that saw Maarten Stekelenburg dismissed in the Rome derby is ‘absurd’.

The Dutch shot-stopper was dismissed seven minutes into the weekend’s Derby della Capitale between Roma and Lazio for catching Miroslav Klose in his unsuccessful attempt to knock the ball from the German international’s feet.

Pierluigi Collina admitted last month that the International Football Association Board - the game’s rule-makers - are discussing the possibility of changing the rule, so such instances would yield only a yellow card, and Nicchi is in agreement after this weekend.

“The expulsion of the goalkeeper who conceded the penalty is a ridiculous rule, but the referee complied with the regulation.

“We agree that this rule should be changed because it is different from a malicious foul. The penalty was justified, though.

“It is absurd that the goalkeeper must now serve a one-game ban - it is a penalty served three times.”

Nicchi also took time to contradict the belief that Mauro Bergonzi could have suspended play on Sunday when Juan was racially abused by sections of the Lazio support.

“The referee has no right to suspend the game. The decision is down to - and needs to be taken by - those in charge [at the stadium].”