Buf­fon should watch his mouth: Ital­ian ref chief

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

MI­LAN: Ital­ian ref­er­ees’ chief Mar­cello Nic­chi said yes­ter­day that Ju­ven­tus goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon should think be­fore lash­ing out at of­fi­cials as he did dur­ing last week’s Champions League de­feat by Real Madrid.

Buf­fon was sent off for dis­sent by English ref­eree Michael Oliver af­ter he awarded Real Madrid a stop­page-time penalty which sent the Spa­niards into the semi-fi­nals. The 40-year-old Ital­ian icon later called Oliver “a murderer” with “a rub­bish bin” in place of a heart.

“Buf­fon is a great cham­pion who I hope will go on to have a great man­age­rial ca­reer,” Nic­chi told Ital­ian ra­dio. “But at cer­tain lev­els you have to be care­ful about what you say. There are al­ways kids lis­ten­ing.

“If it hap­pened in Italy? I would have de­fended the ref­eree. They can’t be threat­ened ei­ther be­fore, dur­ing, or af­ter the game. “Af­ter that, there are the ap­pro­pri­ate bodies which must judge the con­duct of all play­ers on the pitch.”

Mean­while, Nic­chi warned of a re­peat of the 2006 Cal­ciopoli match-fix­ing scan­dal if ref­er­ees lose their right to vote at the top of the game in Italy. The Ital­ian Ref­er­ees’ As­so­ci­a­tion (AIA) could lose its two per­cent vot­ing al­lo­ca­tion in the Ital­ian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion’s Fed­eral Coun­cil. And AIA pres­i­dent Nic­chi be­lieves this could open the door to be­hind-the-scenes med­dling like dur­ing the Cal­ciopoli scan­dal that rocked Se­rie A and Se­rie B in 2006.

“To un­der­mine the in­de­pen­dence and im­par­tial­ity of our ref­er­ees could mean the start of a new Cal­ciopoli,” said Nic­chi. “I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing to calm the ref­er­ees, but if one day some­one goes out on the pitch and doesn’t find the ref­eree, I wouldn’t be sur­prised,” he added of pos­si­ble strike ac­tion. —AFP

Gian­luigi Buf­fon

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