Former Serie A referee, Mario Mazzoleni, speaking exclusively to CalcioNews24, has aired several views on the football world, discussing VAR controversies, Atalanta’s performance and his art interests.
Mazzoleni, a professional of 200 matches, started with his experience of Atalanta’s recent victorious round in the Coppa Italia against Milan. He framed the win as an “important victory” for Atalanta, which, beyond the controversies, deserved to pass the round.
Regarding Atalanta’s player, Belgian Charles De Ketelaere, he praised his positive performance in his first year. He noted, however, that De Ketelaere lacks the “necessary ruthlessness,” which, if cultivated, can make him more relentless, vital in a context where personality makes all the difference.
On the topic of coach Gasperini, he speculated that it might be his last season with Atalanta. Mazzoleni hoped for the coach to leave with a cup win. Despite not respecting him on a personal level, he admitted that, tactically, Gasperini remains commendable.
When discussing VAR, the former referee didn’t mince his words, calling this season’s usage of the technology a “disaster.” He clarified, however, that the issue lies not with the tool but the referees who lack the personality and experience needed to handle complex match situations.
He was particularly critical of the current refereeing standards in Italy, blaming the lackadaisical attitude administrators possess instead of a stiff referee’s approach which he found more fitting for the sport.
Mazzoleni also discussed the lack of meritocracy in referee recruitment, pushing for choices based on merit rather than the trending societal trends.
When asked about the prospects for Italian football in the context of Euro 2032, he expressed concerns about the lack of credibility in Italian football due to weak governing bodies and a mediocre class of referees.
On a personal note, Mazzoleni shared his passion for art, a genre he sees in continuous evolution, much like football. Born into a family of art lovers with a lineage of restorers and galleries, he cherishes the passion that goes beyond football, having worked in the workshop ever since he was 16.