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 By Ben Gladwell

Italy has 'taken a huge step backwards' in judgement of referees - Nicchi

Mauro Icardi argues with referee Nicola Rizzoli after being sent off against Juventus.

The president of the Italian Referees' Association (AIA), Marcello Nicchi, says that recent discussions about refereeing in Serie A are only delaying plans for officials to be allowed to give their own views in future.

Nicchi would like to give referees the opportunity to present themselves for interview after games, but he does not see that happening in the near future.

Instead, he has criticised what he sees as an increase in the controversial reporting of refereeing decisions, something that convinces him the media are not ready to treat officials with respect.

"We've taken a huge step backwards," he told RAI radio. "We had asked for more serenity in people's judgements, in what they say and how they write and broadcast, but unfortunately this has not happened.

"Everybody has considered only their own interests and not the good of football and the tranquillity of referees, of the violence this could generate by saying the wrong thing."

Discussion about the refereeing in Juventus' win over Inter Milan last month lasted for over a week and Nicchi does not like how it is also the clubs fuelling this debate.

He added: "There are some clubs who are trying to make the most of the few errors that there have been to justify them failing to realise their objectives, or maybe some coaches have been thinking about how they can improve their chances of getting a new contract and then there are editors who think about selling more copies of their newspaper, all the while forgetting that we are doing damage to the image of Italian football.

"There are some beautiful, intense matches which get reduced down to just one incident, to a throw-in or a penalty."

As a result of this, Nicchi says he cannot yet allow referees to give their opinions "because just part of their words will be twisted into something that is not the truth.

"Maybe coaches should speak a bit less and maybe one day we will get the coaches and referees speaking together. Anybody who has been talking these days about anything but the beautiful football being played does not know football and does not know the rules."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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