Nicchi: ‘Serie A can resume without VAR’

President of the Referees’ Association Marcello Nicchi is looking forward to the day when Serie A can resume, even without VAR. “I hope after all this, people can realise the beauty of sport.”

The latest statistics from the Government suggest Italy has passed the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and is beginning the downward trajectory of the curve.

This means that the country can begin to prepare for the next phase, including the gradual reintroduction of Serie A football, albeit most likely behind closed doors.

“I never thought that I’d be in a situation like this, but the officials are studying, keeping up to date and taking quizzes we provided as training exercises,” AIA President Nicchi told TMW Radio.

“Our association has not emerged unscathed from this pandemic, as we have lost 10 people. None of them were current referees, but we must all remain cautious and not get swept up in easy enthusiasm until there is more certainty.

“When football does resume, we have to remember referees are most at risk, as they have to travel all over Italy and meet complete strangers. We just ask to be protected, as we don’t want whingers, but nor should we have to be heroes. There are conditions to ensure safety and we must take them into account.

“While there are still 600 people dying per day, we cannot talk about sport. I hope that after all this, people can realise the beauty of sport, how much we missed it and why we need to be kind to each other. If we return and there’s still violence or racism in the stands, that’d chill me to the bone.”

Nicchi assured that playing in the summer months would not be a problem for referees, while it is possible VAR will be suspended for the remaining matches.

“If we don’t have VAR, it’s because we cannot guarantee safety in a packed environment. This is why we wanted to centralise all VAR decisions to the Coverciano camp in Rome, as it’d be more practical than many people crammed into a tiny booth.

“We must all make sacrifices, so if football resumes without VAR, we’ll deal with it. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t care less.”

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