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Italian Referee’s president insists they cannot stop games because of racism

Serie A, referee
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According to the Referee’s Association president, Marcello Nicchi, those fans who are responsible for racist abuse should be “thrown in jail.”

The notion that football matches should be stopped if there are some racial abuse cases coming from the stands is gaining traction.

But in the Italian Lega Serie A, Referee’s Association president Marcello Nicchi insists those responsible should be “thrown in jail.”

And he also believes the games should not be stopped.

“There are procedures in place and they need to be applied, as set out by the FIGC, to shut down certain sections of the stadium,” Nicchi was quoted by Football Italia.

“We referees have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to deal with the game, but it’s important here to clear the air and state the situation with absolute certainty: you cannot dump this problem on the referees.”

“The referees will not change their attitude in this area,” he commented.

“The most important thing is not to underestimate the problem. I feel racist should be identified immediately, stopped and put in jail. It would serve as a deterrent, I am sure of it.”

“There are now dozens and dozens of CCTV cameras inside stadiums now, not to mention observers from the Lega and police. Even the local council could get involved,” he added.

“We know full well who is in the stadium, who is leading the chants in the Curva. All we need is the genuine desire to take action and it can be done.”

“Referees are the last to notice these things, because we are already focused on football. Nowadays, we have earpieces in to communicate with VAR, there is so much to concentrate on, so how can he also be keeping on top of what is chanted from which area of the stands?” he asked.

“A referee cannot take on the responsibility of suspending a game, because that transforms it into a public order issue. You’d have to evacuate the crowds, maintain order. We cannot be shouldered with that kind of responsibility. There are rules in place, so let’s simply apply them.”