Referee Association Apologizes to Milan for Error vs Spezia

Milan were on the wrong end of a referee’s mistake in the stunning loss to Spezia. At the 92nd minute, official Marco Serra blew the whistle too early on a foul for the Rossoneri, as Junior Messias hit the net seconds later. The Aquilotti managed to find a goal of their own later in the stoppage time.

AIA, the Italian referees’ association, quickly apologized to Milan for the blunder. Their deputy head Andrea Gervasoni was on the stands yesterday, and the new course aims to be fully transparent. According to Corriere della Sera, Serra was appalled and burst into tears after the final whistle. After loudly protesting on the pitch, a few players, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, visited his locker room to console him.

The young official, who is 39 and part of the new generation, will be disciplined and not direct matches for at least a month in Serie A. It was his 11th appearance in the top league. Besides that glaring action, he mishandled a few other situations during Milan-Spezia.

While severe, the error does not qualify as a technical one, and so there is no ground to repeat the match. The decision to delay a call is entirely discretional. Moreover, it is not an area where the VAR can intervene. Due to the unfortunate episode and a subpar performance versus Spezia, Milan did not take advantage of Inter sharing the spoils with Atalanta. They stayed two points behind the cross-town rivals, which also have a game in hand.