Cramped conditions could rule out VAR, says Italian referee boss

Italy’s referees’ association says the officials are as much at risk as anyone else. (Reuters pic)

ROME: Serie A matches may have to do without VAR when action resumes following the coronavirus outbreak because the cramped conditions where video officials work could be a health problem, the head of Italy’s referees’ association (AIA) said Monday.

“In some cases for the video assistants today, we use narrow spaces, such as vans, where the referees work in a space of 2sqm, without a safe distance between them and other workers,” Marcello Nicci told RAI television.

“I hope this doesn’t happen but the risk is there, I hope they give us sanitised spaces.”

Nicci added that referees had been forgotten amid the debate over if and when Serie A, which has been suspended since March 9, could re-start.

“I haven’t heard any serious proposals regarding the protection of the referees,” he said.

“The referees are ready, they are respecting the rules, they are working in video-conferences with the technical bodies, they are keeping fit indoors but, before moving on to phase two, we will have to worry about them too.”

He said that referees were as much at risk as anyone else. “They travel alone on trains and planes, going through airports and stations… If we start again, I will want to know what guarantees are offered.”