Skip to content

Serie A referee overturns his own penalty decision after furious protest

Mar 30, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

Benatia Getty Images

Referees have, throughout the course of sports history, taken a battering from players and coaches for decisions made on the field.

But it rarely has a direct effect on their calls, especially ones already made.

Well, check that. Today, Roma avoided conceding a penalty after Serie A referee Nicola Rizzoli reversed his own decision following a full-team protest by the visitors.

In the first half, Sassuolo forward Nicola Sansone went down in the box under contact from Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, and Rizzoli pointed to the spot.

The entire Roma team streamed over to the referee, with some even making their way over to the linesman next to the goal – in that location due to Serie A’s resistance of goal-line technology, preferring to have a linesman by the goal.

After five minutes of protest, during which Rizzoli conferred with his linesman, the referee reversed his own decision, infuriating the home side.

Benatia spoke to Sky Italia following the match, and he painted a curious picture of the decision. “The referee didn’t want to give the penalty but the goal-line official told him it was a penalty,” said Benatia.

The Roma defender then accused Rizzoli of asking players what happened.

“He asked Sansone to telling him the truth, assuring that he would not get a yellow card [for diving]. That made us a little angry, because you can’t ask that sort of thing to a player whose team are battling relegation. Sansone said that he slipped but that I had pulled his shirt and the referee decided not to give the penalty.”

If that rendition of the incident is true, fair play must be credited to Sansone for telling the truth (mostly), but the referee must come under serious question for essentially leaving the decision up to the players.

Rizzoli is Italy’s representative in the World Cup refereeing crew. Roma ended up winning the match 2-0, leaving Sassuolo five points deep in the relegation zone in 19th.

Here is a fan’s view of the incident:

  1. Jenna - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Rizzoli never once pointed to the spot or made any sort of move to make a call after the dive. He looked like he was trying to talk to his linesman when the two got surrounded. If what everyone is saying is true, he never made the call but his linesman was saying it was a penalty, so he took his time to check. (If he’d overruled the linesman and been wrong, you’d be writing about that.).

    He spent what I felt like was a ridiculously inordinate amount of time soothing ruffled feathers, and in the end he made the right call, but I don’t think he overturned himself or left the decision up to the players.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Week 6: Premier League recap