Rocchi explains Genoa-Juventus and Lazio-Inter handball decisions
Refereeing designator Gianluca Rocchi went over footage of two controversial handball incidents in Genoa–Juventus and...
“Handball is the most complicated thing for referees, because it is always going to be a subjective ruling,” Rocchi said during the weekly DAZN interview.
“When people say why are two situations not the same, it is because the two situations are never the same either.”
The first incident saw a Juve cross hit Mattia Bani on the knee and ricochet onto the arm as he tried to pull it out of the way.
While previously the guidance had suggested that if the ball hit a ‘safe’ part of the body and ricocheted onto the arm, it could not be considered an intentional handling offence, that has now changed.
However, the discussion in the VAR booth with the AVAR seemed to still have that older interpretation of the rules.
“It hit the knee, I am not interested. I am not interested, that hit the knee,” was the comment from the VAR.
This was a discussion between the VAR and AVAR, without informing the referee until their decision had been made.
That incident caused a great deal of debate and controversy, with even the refereeing designator admitting the situation was not entirely clear.
“I would lean more towards a penalty than not, but it is not 100 per cent an error. The touch off the knee is not sufficient to remove the handball.
“More than the knee, I would focus on the arm, which is not firm, if anything it is pulling backwards trying to get it out of the way.”
A similar approach was found in the Mario Gila handling offence for Lazio against Inter, noting the ball hit his stomach first and then the arm.
However, this time Rocchi explained why it was not to be considered a penalty.
“Because the ball visibly changed direction off the stomach and he basically pushed it onto his own arm by mistake. With the Genoa situation, the ball did not radically change direction.”
Had the referee given a penalty for the Gila handball, could it be changed by a VAR review?
“Probably not, that would’ve been very difficult, as you cannot say it didn’t touch the arm. The officials did much better because they made a decision, which makes it easier for VAR.”
Another controversial situation during the Genoa 1-1 Juventus match was a Ruslan Malinovskyi lunge with studs up on the ankle.
Although the VAR initially used an expression that in English would translate as “bloody hell,” he did not suggest the referee change the original ruling of a yellow card to a red.
Rocchi agreed this was a mistake and “it should’ve been a red card with an on-field review. I asked officials to be very severe on this type of challenge where the players are out of control and become a danger to the opponent.”