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Football
Refs under fire in Italy
Controversial refereeing decisions in last weekend's Serie A action leave Catania, Roma and Lazio bosses fuming.
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2012 13:21
Catania thought they had taken a first-half lead against the Italian leaders but the strike was ruled out after almost a minute of deliberation and pressure from the Juve players [GALLO/GETTY]

Italian referees and linesmen will be under more scrutiny than ever during this week's fixtures after a series of mishaps at the weekend.

Serie A is the only major European league to use two extra linesmen but the system, heavily favoured by UEFA president Michel Platini, was unable to prevent controversies which left Catania, Lazio and AS Roma all fuming and leaders Juventus on the defensive.

Catania president Antonio Pulvirenti was still angry after replays showed his team had a first-half goal wrongly disallowed at home to Juventus, who went on to win 1-0 with an Arturo Vidal goal after halftime.

He suggested that Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who on Friday said that Italian football was in need of reform, should hand Catania the three points as an example of fair play and transparency.

Pressure

"If Agnelli wants to reform football, he can start in the simplest of ways, by suggesting that his team forfeit the match 0-3" Pulvirenti, who on Sunday said the referee had been harassed by the Juventus bench, said in a radio interview.

Juventus sporting director Giuseppe Marotta agreed that Catania's goal should have been allowed, but denied his club pressured referees.

"Juventus is a serious club and even if that goal had stood, nobody can say the game would have finished in that way," he said in a radio interview.

"I deny that it was our players who tempted the referee to reconsider. The linesman's flag was raised at the time of the goal to indicate an offside.

"I can only share the judgement about the mistake. They happen, just as they happened in other games yesterday, in the previous round of matches and last season, where Juventus were on the receiving end.

"But if we suggest that Juventus had influenced the referee, then I deny that completely."

Juventus were demoted in 2006 for corruption involving referees.

Roma, beaten 3-2 at home by Udinese, were also upset about the penalty from which Antonio Di Natale scored the winning goal.

"It was a bad day for referees," Roma coach Zdenek Zeman told reporters.

"They say referees can't decide a championship, but I think they can."

"In the case of Catania, the result was changed from 1-0 to 0-1."

Lazio furious

Lazio were seething after Stefano Mauri had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal disallowed against Fiorentina, who were winning 1-0 at the time.

"In the second half we dominated until the decisions went against us. The goal was clearly not offside," said coach Vladimir Petkovic.

Fiorentina went on to win 2-0 and Lazio had two players sent off in the last 15 minutes.

AC Milan, eleventh with 10 points from nine games, kick off the midweek fixtures with a visit to Palermo on Tuesday.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri has enjoyed some respite after his team beat Genoa on Saturday, but it could be short-lived if they lose in Sicily.

Titleholders and leaders Juventus, who have 25 points from a possible 27 and are unbeaten in 48 Serie A games, should take three more points at home to struggling Bologna on Wednesday .

Napoli, three points behind in second place, visit 15th placed Atalanta and third-placed Inter host fading Sampdoria.

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Source:
Reuters
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