A referee in Italy is set to become the first official to ever appear on live television to explain his decisions after a match.
Refereeing decisions have been in the headlines far too often in recent weeks (months? years?), and there has been plenty of calls for officials to step in front of the camera and explain why they felt the need to rule a certain way.
The latest episode of this never-ending saga came on Saturday as Brighton‘s Lewis Dunk urged Lee Mason to come out and explain his ‘embarrassing‘ decision to disallow, allow and then again disallow his free kick, which would have earned the Seagulls a point in their 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion.
Will that ever happen in England? No idea. However, Italy are one step ahead of the game as RAI Sport’s Enrico Varriale confirmed on Twitter that referee Daniele Orsato is set to appear on Novantesimo Minuto on Sunday to discuss his decisions from the match he led on Saturday, Spezia’s 2-2 draw with Parma.
It’s not as if the match was particularly controversial either. There were no disallowed goals, failed penalty shouts or red cards, but Orsato did hand out no fewer than seven yellow cards, and he will likely be asked to explain why.
Football’s decision-makers have often dismissed the idea of referees speaking to the media, but new president of the Italian Referees’ Association, Alfredo Trentalange, is keen to break down that barrier and give fans the insight they deserve.
“Why not give interviews?” Trentalange recently told Il Messaggero (via Football-Italia). “While also respecting the work of the sporting justice system, which is the primary concern, I think explaining some decisions might help people’s understanding of the rules.”
This is by no means the first time that Mason has been in the headlines. Alongside Mike Dean, he was involved in a handful of controversial decisions recently, including two red cards which ended up being overturned, and it led to Southampton requesting not to be officiated by either of the referees in future.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was also fined back in December after insisting that Mason ‘does not have the quality‘ to officiate in the Premier League, after being unimpressed with his performance in a 2-1 loss to Burnley.
It’s all turned a little ugly, with Dean taking time off after receiving death threats from a number of imbecile fans, but Trentalange clearly believes that interviewing officials will help build a relationship with supporters.