Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Italy turn to foreign refs

Serie A matches could be officiated by foreign referees next season in an attempt to restore credibility to the Italian game.

The nation’s refereeing system is set for a drastic overhaul over the summer as a result of the scandal which has brought calcio to its knees. With nine referees currently under investigation as part of the probe looking into the alleged manipulation of the sport, Italy could be left short of adequate officials next season.

With that in mind, new Italian Football Federation commissioner Guido Rossi is seriously considering looking on the continent for assistance. It’s believed that Rossi is pondering the idea of appointing former top class official Pierluigi Collina (pictured) as the new head of the Italian Referees’ Association. He will replace Tulio Lanese who quit as President of the AIA earlier this month after the scandal broke. Collina would then look to create a system in which he could call upon the services of men like Germany’s Markus Merk and Graham Poll of England to take charge of some top-flight matches.

Italian football have turned to foreign whistle blowers in the past. In the 1955-56 season, a group of Austrian refs were hired in the business end of the season to guarantee fairness.


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