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Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Italian lawyer sues football referee

Italian lawyer sues football referee


Devoted fan looks to courts after controversial decisions affect title chase

An Italian lawyer has reportedly sued a football referee for allegedly making a series of decisions in favour of a rival team.

Napoli fan Luigi Giordano was dismayed at Nicola Rizzoli's performance in Juventus's 4-1 win over Torino last weekend, during which he controversially disallowed a Torino goal and failed to punish a Juventus defender for an apparent headbutt.

Juventus currently sit at the top of Serie A - Italy's top division - while Napoli remain three points behind after also winning last weekend.

After filing the complaint, Giordano posted on Facebook: 'I have done my duty as a lawyer and Napoli fan. I now place my trust in the Turin magistrates.'

While every referee can have a bad day at the office, Italian fans perhaps have every right to feel suspicious following the Italian football scandal in 2006.

Calciopoli - as it was termed by Italian media - blighted the beautiful game when then league champions Juventus, along with Lazio and Fiorentina, were relegated for controlling and influencing referee selection and actions in games.

This is not the first time, however, that learned fans have turned to the law when they feel aggrieved. In 2014, a Colombian lawyer sued FIFA for $1.3bn, claiming 'negligence and fault' after a referee made a 'bad call' that cost Colombia a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup.

When referees make mistakes that cost a club or organisation financially, it raises the question of whether an official can be found guilty of negligence.

Turin magistrates will be expected to clear away the claim but insight may be provided into whether future claimants have any chance of giving officials the red card and, in the process, obtaining damages. Will this be a lawsuit of two halves?