AIA President Believes Better Times Are Ahead for Referees

The president of the Referees’ Association (AIA) Marcello Nicchi discussed the rough start of the season for the officials on Radio Rai, saying that substantial improvements could be on the horizon: “It is impossible to eliminate mistakes, everything can be perfected and the centralized VAR room in Coverciano will be a decidisive step forward, it will be a laboratory that will bring incredible progress, the most important evolution in Italian football in the next few years. It will surely guarantee more uniformity because the rules will be applied through precise protocols and not according to how one views them”.

Once the VAR room at Italy headquarters will be ready, the operators will no longer travel to each stadium and will all support the various referees from there. However, it has been under construction for over a year now and the pandemic has slowed things down, so there is not much hope it will be live before the end of the season.

“We are also suffering for the fact that matches are being played in a surreal enviroment,” Nicchi added, then shooting down the idea of introducing coaches’ challenges: “I do not think we need somebody from the benches asking the referee to go take a look at some actions, he knows he has to do it based on what the VAR suggests.” He also rejected the possibility of officials explaining their decisions after matches: “There have been bitter and pointless controversies every time we have come close to that, we do not think times are mature for it.”