Home / Sport / ‘It’s a sporting crime’ – Napoli president threatens to sue over poor VAR calls

‘It’s a sporting crime’ – Napoli president threatens to sue over poor VAR calls

The Serie A supremo says that he is willing to take match officials who make mistakes to court

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said that he is prepared to take referees to court over damages in future if they do not consult VAR.

The Serie A side feel that they have been on the wrong end of numerous decisions this season, with the latest controversial incident cropping up during their 3-2 loss to Lecce last weekend as Arkadiusz Milik was booked for a dive in the box.

Referee Antonio Giua refused to review the call on the monitor, despite replays showing that the Poland international had his ankle clipped.

With this in mind, De Laurentiis lashed out at the official when speaking to Corriere dello Sport.

“I always maintained that any system of assistance that is intermittent or optional is inconceivable. It must be obligatory. If a referee, either through incompetence or arrogance, does not use VAR, he is committing a sporting crime, because he compromises the result,” he fumed.

“Football is not just a game. It is also an industry that produces very significant economic results.”

He believes that poor calls should be made punishable in courts.

“Why not? The principle of ‘you pay for mistakes’ aids all democratic processes and football is no different. If a judge emits the wrong sentence, he can be called to repay damages. Should a referee not be held to the same rules?” he said.

“Napoli have been denied numerous penalties this season. It’s not just me saying that, but recognised throughout the media. If this chain reaction of errors should turn into a financial loss of €200m, who would pay us back for that?

“I think top level lawyers would enjoy taking this on. Never say never. Plus, if five, six or seven clubs who were damaged by serious refereeing errors were to decide to stop the Serie A season?

“It would perhaps be traumatic, but still an efficient way of breaking the back of this laissez-faire attitude and carelessness.”

 As a potential solution, he suggested that a tennis-style challenge system be launched. 

“The challenge is the very least they could do and is probably already too late,” he argued.

“I think two challenges per game, one in each half, would suffice. The coaches have the right to demand verification in the most dubious cases and can also step in front of the monitor with the referee to get a clear explanation for the decision that has been made. That is a sacrosanct right of the coach.”

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini agreed when speaking to Sportsweek magazine, stating: “In my view, the technology has totally failed. The objective was to provide justice in incidents of clear and obvious error, but instead it is doing the contrary. VAR ended up creating even bigger doubts.

“When you are faced with footage that is so obvious and still make a mistake, that turns into a very dangerous boomerang.”

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