Former Italian football referee Luca Marelli has examined the penalty incident in last night’s match between SPAL and Inter at the Stadio Paolo Mazza, which Inter won 4-0.
Shortly after Inter took the lead, Inter captain and goalkeeper Samir Handanovic collided with Gabriel Strefezza and SPAL’s players and coaching staff made strong calls for a penalty but referee Antonio Giua decided against awarding a penalty, a decision Marelli believes was the wrong one.
“First off: it has no importance whatsoever that the ball is no longer in Strefezza’s possession, what the rules impose (Rule 12) is if a contact is to be adjudicated as having been correct or not,” Marelli wrote in his latest blog post on his website lucamarelli.it.
“The images leave no doubts: Strefezza is sly, Handanovic naive, ball is abundantly clear in play in the moment of contact and the penalty kick is evident. Giua doesn’t give it and Doveri who is the VAR, decides after a long check not to tell his colleague to do an ‘on field review.'”
Marelli then went on to dissect whether an on-field review should have been ordered.
“It’s a very complex answer, despite how trivial it may seem. We must always deal with the stumbling block that is the protocol, which, as we know, is written in rigid terms to avoid subjective evaluations by VAR which could overlap with the subjective evaluation of the referee on the field.”
Next Marelli went on to share what he believes might have happened when there was consultation between referee Giua and VAR official Daniele Doveri.
“It is very probable (although I can have no certainty about it and this is only my persona opinion) that Doveri asked Giua, ‘what did you see?’.
“Giua would have responded something like this, ‘I saw the goalkeeper come out, the attacker hit the ball and they clashed due to the dynamics of the situation.
“At that point Doveri found himself in a very embarrassing situation. On the one hand, Giua, who saw the incident, evaluated it and informed VAR that he had made a decision based on what he had seen.
“Doveri meanwhile remained very doubtful for a long time because obviously it was complex (due to the protocol) to recommend a review.
“In the end Doveri decided not to recommend a review (perhaps even mindful of the controversy raised by Parma last week) and to let the game go on.”
Marelli refereed between 2001 and 2009 at Serie A, Serie B and Serie C level. Since retiring he has started his own blog where he dissects all the main talking points from a match official point of view in matches and his views are held in high regard.