Marcelo Nicchi, the president of the Italian referees association (AIA), has insisted that common sense must be used when it comes to the possible resumption of football at all levels in Italy.
Seasons not only in football but in all sports have been on hold for over a month now due to the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic and Nicchi shared his thoughts on a restart in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If we wait for the infections to reach zero across the country, we would never start again. There will be a small calculated risk margin, but we will have to be good at minimising it through using common sense,” he said in the interview which appeared in today’s print edition of the Milan based news outlet.
He then went on to discuss what he would like to see as far as referees are concerned.
“I think that referees should be allowed to make short trips and I hope that they are not immediately challenged by those who want to create controversy.
“There are many sectors that are still in business today, from doctors, who are the true heroes of this pandemic, to those who work in supermarkets, offices or newspaper editors.
“Athletes and referees can get back to work again if properly followed and controlled because there is a need to start again but we must leave the heroisms to those who save lives and not to those who run after a ball.”
He was then asked if Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology will be used if the season resumes.
“Yes. The company that deals with all technology has assured us that the rooms with the equipment in the stadiums will be sanitised and the safety distances will be maintained. Perhaps the number of people will decrease. Today there are six, there could be less, but VAR will be there.”
In conclusion he was asked about the possibility of his referees only being limited to refereeing matches in the city or region in which they stay.
“It is our intention to choose the most fit referees for the most important matches without geographical constraints but we start from two assumptions. The first is all our referees offer guarantees; the second is that referees and assistants do not travel by coach or charter like teams.
“They do it on their own by car, train or plane. If we can allow a referee to reach the game of competence without crossing half of Italy is it not better? We hope there is no need for this, but if there is a need for it, it is right to safeguard health.”