Gabriele Gravina, President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), addressed the ongoing referee controversy in an interview with Iene. His comments follow revelations made by an anonymous match official regarding discretionary evaluations of incidents. Gravina’s statements, reported by the Giornalistica Opinione news agency, shed light on the federation’s stance on the matter.
“The complaints, in my opinion, represent an act of courage, to be appreciated, but they must be founded. The anonymous referee should not be afraid. However, we do not provide protection for slander because these rules safeguard the truth, not slander. That’s why we still wanted to file a report. If the allegations highlighted correspond to the truth, they will be pursued, but they must be true,” stated Gravina.
Gravina emphasized the importance of contributing to improving the organization without fear of repercussions: “If you speak out, are you out? No, you are out if you slander. But if you participate in our system, contribute to improving the organization, I believe there is no better protection than safeguarding one’s right to represent the truth. The anonymous referee, if he had told the truth and put his face to it, would have continued to referee, I am convinced. I am certain because there are conditions that we must safeguard.”
Addressing concerns raised by several referees from Serie A, B, and C confirming the claims made by the anonymous director after the broadcast, Gravina urged them to document their assertions: “And put it all in writing. What do they fear? I have seen former referees claiming something unfounded. There have been disciplinary processes, and if they have lost all levels of judgment, it does not seem to me that there are valid reasons. But we reiterate a fundamental concept: maximum willingness to accept everything. We act with maximum transparency. That’s why our report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office is heading in that direction.”
Gravina concluded by cautioning against generalizations about referee complaints: “Of those who write, we must see. There are 40,000 referees, so I would be very cautious about saying that ‘everyone’ reports the same thing, and I would be very cautious about the concept of democracy. Within the Referees Association, there is the highest expression of democracy.”