Italy promises crackdown on violence against football refs

Riccardo Bernardini, 24, sùffered head injùries after being set ùpon following a match between Virtùs Olympia and Atletico Terranova in the Promozione leagùe – the sixth tier of the Italian leagùe system – which ended with two red cards and a goal in stoppage time.

“What’s this coùntry where 300 yoùng referees end ùp in casùalty becaùse yoù think they badly refereed yoùr son’s match,” said Salvini.

“There are 35,000 referees in Italy. Not professional, not those of AC Milan-Jùventùs bùt from small oùtlying areas, parish groùnds. Every Sùnday they referee on 11,000 pitches, for free, in the cold, ùnder the snow.

“Only this year, 300 of these yoùng people have ended ùp in the hospital – three hùndred!”, claimed Salvini.

According to the Italian Referees Association (AIA), Sùnday’s attack was the eighth in the championship since the start of the season.

As a resùlt Italian referees are to boycott amateùr matches in the region of Lazio this week in protest. And Salvini and Sports Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti will meet with AIA president Marcello Nicchi on Tùesday to decide a plan of action.

“The perpetrators of these actions can no longer be part of oùr world,” said Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

The federation is considering “even more drastic measùres to stop this abùse”, which coùld go as far as exclùding responsible clùbs, added Gravina.