Gianluca Rocchi’s press conference was both surprising and disconcerting to most as it is unusual to see such passionate outbursts from the top of the refereeing hierarchy. His comments have highlighted a very real discontent heightened by the recent events in Serie A. His proposal to publicly admit refereeing mistakes has stirred controversy instead of diffusing it. As pointed out by Italian newspapers, this round of league games could be under serious scrutiny. This, coupled with the fact that the games span four days, from Saturday to Tuesday evening, has intensified the situation.
Stefano Agresti, in his comment in La Gazzetta dello Sport, agreed with Rocchi’s words, saying: “Protests, insults, aggressions: the referees are at the limit. It is a severe and clear accusation, shocking because we’re not used to them raising their voices. Rocchi’s warning comes from the man who selects, prepares and judges the referees. Referees have lost their patience; they are exasperated with the football protagonists: coaches, players, executives. This cannot continue.”
Meanwhile, Ivan Zazzaroni of Corriere dello Sport highlighted a problem that Italy is currently experiencing – more expulsions among coaches than among players. This, Zazzaroni describes, is a “very sad record” and is part of the problem highlighted in Rocchi’s comments. “There is another category very little protected, this time by referees, and it is that of the coaches,” he mentioned.
Following Rocchi’s directions, a new point system was introduced, where as of today, Inter and Juventus would have equal standings. This parallel accounting practice has always been a unique journalistic feature. However, it runs the danger of being a calamitous own goal for the category, particularly with the surge towards transparency, exemplified by Open VAR and public self-criticism.