Gianluca Rocchi, the head of Italy’s Referee Association of Serie A and Serie B, made striking remarks during a press conference today.
Discussing the incident during the Lazio-Roma derby, Rocchi expressed concerns over safety and respect in football. He was particularly troubled following an altercation involving renowned referee Marco Guida and a Salernitana team staff member.
He said, “The derby had a downright sad ending. About Guida, I am worried because if a registered individual tries to attack an important referee like Marco Guida, think about what happens at the grassroots level.” His comments came in response to repeated complaints over officiating disputes in Serie A.
Rocchi made no secret of his disdain for hypocritical reactions, emphasizing the need to safeguard referees. “We demand and give respect to everyone, if we made a mistake by not greeting a coach, we were wrong, because education comes before everything”, he said, adding, “I know Di Bello (another top-level referee) and he is anything but rude. I believe there has been a misunderstanding, and I hope it will be resolved as soon as possible,” showing support for his colleague.
However, Rocchi also acknowledged the possibility of errors in officiating, hinting at the recent controversial match between Inter and Verona. “There probably was a lack of attention to the real extent of the foul in the Inter-Verona situation,” he conceded, reflecting on the scrutiny the referees have been under this season.
Through this press conference, Rocchi aimed to refocus attention on respect and fairness within football, for players and officials alike, and acknowledged the challenges that referees face on the pitch.