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Oct 19, 2012

Serie A ref appointment criticised

Former referee Graziano Cesari has criticised the appointment of official Antonio Damato for Saturday's top of the table clash between Juventus and Napoli.

• Blog: The match of all matches
• Mazzarri: Juve and Napoli best in Serie A

Cesari, 62, who retired from refereeing ten years ago, believes Damato, 40, lacks top-level experience to officiate such a big game, having never even taken charge of a Champions League fixture.

The retired referee now works as an analyst for Mediaset Premium and made his feelings clear live on air on the decision to appoint the rookie.

"It is a very surprising decision and I really did not expect that," he said. "He is not a top-class official and has never even taken charge of a Champions League match. Will he be able to survive the pressure?

"Damato is an outsider and they decided to promote a youngster. They did the same with Paolo Valeri for the Milan derby and we all know how that went..."

That match saw some bizarre officiating and there is already tension between Juve and a Napoli side who boycotted the presentation of the Italian Super Cup back in August as protest against what they perceived as poor refereeing in the match between the two sides.

"He is a calm referee who has done well this season," added Cesari. "I am only frightened by the fact he is still in the third tier.

"He lacks experience of big games, so Juventus v Napoli is immediately the most important match of his entire career."

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