Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini has furiously called for the standard of officiating in football to improve after an early red card cost his side in a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Italian outfit welcomed Zinedine Zidane's side to the Gewiss Stadium on the back of three straight wins, although Gasperini was handed a one-match Serie A touchline ban and fined for verbally abusing officials in the club's previous clash with Napoli.
The 63-year-old now runs the risk of punishment in European competition as well, having called into question the decision to show Remo Freuler a red card after 17 minutes, referring to the call as “football suicide”.
With less than 20 minutes on the clock, Ferland Mendy was controversially adjudged to have been clean through on goal as Frueler challenged the left-back on the edge of his own box.
Referee Tobias Stieler promptly issued the Swiss midfielder his marching orders, leaving the hosts to hang on with 10 men for the majority of the match before Mendy popped up with the winner in the dying stages.
What was said?
“The game was ruined,” Gasperini fumed into the microphones of Sky Sport Italia. “Last season, after absolute chaos, the handball rule was sorted out. Now we have the temptation to remove any form of contact in football and that is suicide for the sport,”
“I just got banned for saying something in Serie A, if I say something now then UEFA will ban me for a month. But this is football suicide. We cannot have referees who never played the game and don’t know the difference between a challenge and a foul.
“If they can’t tell the difference, then they ought to go and get a different job, frankly. They should get people who played football to referee instead.
“Referees also have video replays now, they have everything needed to judge, and yet even with replays they get it wrong.
“You wait so long for this event and then it gets ruined. We might’ve lost anyway, I am not complaining about the result, but we at least could’ve played our game."