To err is human, could perhaps be a real motto for the referee category, a sort of mantra or programmatic manifesto to bring attention to the human nature of the match director and to that component, unavoidable and unavoidable, which will always lead to error, to the oversight, to the decision taken in a few moments which – in retrospect – will be destined to prove incorrect, even disastrous for the fate of a match.
Of course, progress, in terms of regulations and technologies at the service of the referee team, helps to put some strategic patches, to make a certain type of error like a memory of a distant football and to give us some more comfort but, even today, not there is no reason to get lost in endless (sterile?) debates on the interpretation of the regulation, on what should and should not be done. Also today, then, there is no shortage of punitive stops against referees who, with the bowls stopped, did not do their best work in a given situation.
Then becomes a piece of history, rather than material from the controversy of the day after, the episode that over the span of a season crushes a team or launches another: the A league, seen from a historical perspective, certainly offers a repertoire of champions and plays but, it is difficult to deny it, it puts us in front of a gallery of oversights, rash decisions and errors of evaluation which (at least in the following story) influenced the fate of a football season. It is not a question of launching into conspiracy, that is, of understanding the roots of an error and of getting lost in a labyrinth made up of subjection or more or less perverse systems, it is simply a matter of observing our history even in those most bitter corners, a source of controversy and sporting enmities remained indelible. So let’s see the refereeing errors that have gone down in history because they were decisive for the Scudetto or because they were really sensational:
The referee error, or in any case the consequent streak of controversy, has the power to turn, as mentioned, into real history: just as technical gestures and spectacular matches remain in the memory, it is undeniable that (especially in the mind of the defeated) remains the bitter taste of a disputed fact.
In the case of Roma e Juventus, on the Giallorossi side, has become a legend “Turone’s goal”: the goal canceled by the Giallorossi defender on 10 May ’81, in Turin, for alleged offside on the air bank by Pruzzo precisely because of the rushing Turone. The ball in the net, the jubilant player’s run and then the frozen shower: the goal is not valid.
Juve and Roma were then competing for the Scudetto, in a real head-to-head, and a Giallorossi success instead of the 0-0 one, on the third to last day, could have told a different ending for that 1980/81 season. The myth of this episode is then linked to the recurrent way in which, in the following years, it returned to the fore, as a sort of Holy Grail of refereeing episodes, as much discussed as it is complex to unravel in a definitive and objective way.
Among the many rivalries that belong to our football and that outline it, not since yesterday, the one between Fiorentina e Juventus. An asymmetrical rivalry, certainly, considering the palmares of the two teams and the goals achieved but which, over the decades, has often found a way to renew itself and reinvigorate itself.
A fundamental space, in the context of the purple hatred towards the bianconeri, is that covered by the events of the May 16, 1982: Juve and Fiorentina matched up in the lead, the Viola dream of the Scudetto and believe it for a few moments, at least until the referee Mattei did not cancel Graziani’s 1-0 goal due to a foul by Bertoni (highly contested foul) on the rossoblu goalkeeper. In Cagliari it remains 0-0 while in Catanzaro Juve obtains the success, a 1-0 decided by Brady’s penalty.
Nothing to say about the rigor of the Juventus advantage, the stone of the scandal and is the Missed penalty to Catanzaro in the first half for Brio’s elbow on Borghi. A situation that emerged in the television broadcasts and in the slow motion of the following hours that did nothing but unleash the wrath of the viola, who left for Sardinia with the dream of returning with the third Scudetto or at least of playing the decisive play-off with the bianconeri (as would have happened points).
A very peculiar paradox linked to the referee controversies is the presence of different weights and measures, according to the protagonists. If Maradona sees even an unsportsmanlike gesture par excellence (which has become a legend like the God’s hand) the speech changes if the author of the gesture is Rapajc of Perugia.
Twenty-sixth matchday of Serie A, season 1996/97: Perugia e Naples they face each other at the Curi stadium, it is anything but a high-ranking challenge and indeed the two teams are engaged in the race for salvation. After the blue advantage signed by Aglietti here is the incriminated episode: corner by Kreek e very clear hand ball by Rapajc who, in fact imitating Maradona and his historic goal against England, sends the ball to the net with that gesture.
Episode clear and understandable anger of the Neapolitans in front of the choice of the referee Nicchi, believe the goal is valid: a hand ball that everyone missed which, in times of VAR, would never have gone unpunished.
From a sensational but certainly not epochal episode, like that of Rapajc, we move on to a situation that has become nothing short of iconic, almost as if it were an overhead kick or a goalkeeper’s miracle. Let’s talk about Juve-Inter 1-0, season 1997/98: a close fight between the Nerazzurri and the Bianconeri, with Simoni’s men able to reach only one point from Lippi’s on the eve of the direct clash at Delle Alpi.
Fourth to last day of a championship that promises to be fought to the end, Ronaldo (1-0 for the bianconeri) tries to fly away in the area, moves the ball but finds himself in front of him Iuliano and the two collide. Ceccarini, referee, lets it go and on the developments of the action, on the other hand, grants a penalty to Juve (which later failed): the Inter bench in disbelief, protests from the fans and an inexhaustible echo of controversy for one of the most cited refereeing episodes of our football.
The same referee Ceccarini inevitably remained connected, in the memory of the fans, to that particular situation, a sort of stamp (or stain) that afterwards marked his referee career.
A negative historical season, certainly, that of the revocation of the Scudetto at Juventus following the scandal Calciopoli exploded in 2006. Fiorentina was also among the teams involved but, paradoxically, at the end of the championship the purple club was the victim of a surreal referee decision, moreover in a moment that saw Fiorentina led by Zoff in full struggle not to relegate.
Salvation came on the last day, thanks to the 3-0 over Brescia at the Franchi, but what happened on the penultimate day against Lazio, with the referee Rosettes to direct, however, remained in the (unhappy) history of that championship. Rejected by Peruzzi and the ball on the crossbar, Jorgensen pounces on the ball but Zauri runs towards the goal and, with his arm, he sends the ball out.
A clear situation that did not translate into a sacrosanct penalty: it remained 1-1 until the end and the Viola were forced to play everything on the last day. Rosetti later explained that, according to him, Zauri’s deviation appeared to be a normal header.
We are in the season 2007/08, an important season for both Naples than for the Juventus: that of the return to Serie A for the Azzurri and for the Bianconeri, fallen nobles (in different ways and for different reasons) intent on regaining a place among the greats.
The ninth day of that championship, staged on October 27, saw the Azzurri host Juve at the San Paolo in a match that Juventus experienced as a victim of controversial refereeing situations. Two penalties, specifically, awarded by Bergonzi to Napoli in the second half: the first on Lavezzi, on 1-1, and the second for a flight of Zalayeta with Buffon coming out, for the final 3-1.
In both cases it was a question of wrong decisions, particularly sensational was the one on the penalty granted to Zalayeta, who flew to the ground despite Buffon had not actually touched him. The controversy also continued in the following days, complete with a two-day disqualification of the blue attacker who was then revoked due to an intervention by Legrottaglie that would have unbalanced him (there was therefore no unsportsmanlike behavior in Zalayeta).
Another situation capable of becoming “iconic”, a bit like what happened in the case of the clash between Iuliano and Ronaldo in Juve-Inter. A situation that, this time, brings together several factors to become memorable as well as contested: it was a decisive moment of the season, a challenge at the top and an episode that is absolutely clear and certainly not interpretable in an ambiguous way.
Milan e you they are first on equal points, we are on the twenty-fifth day. At San Siro, on the 1-0 result for the Rossoneri, Tagliavento does not notice that the ball has clearly crossed the goal line on the kickback of Buffon, following the conclusion of Muntari, and therefore evaluates it as a simple parade.
Nothing that goal line technology could not easily avoid but which, until 2015/16 and the introduction of this technological aid in A, was still left to the referee and assistants’ evaluations, with all the unfortunate consequences of the case.
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