Unique designator for whistles and Var, tension between Figc and Aia before the choice
Habemus designatorem. Only the official status is missing, which will arrive in the next few days, but the games now seem to be done. The era of the designator Nicola Rizzoli ends, that of Gianluca Rocchi begins. Alfredo Trentalange, president of The Hague elected in February, is taking all the time possible, until tomorrow, to put together the pieces of a very complicated puzzle because he must hold together the will to turn the page and insert his own men, to keep more than one promise pre-electoral, re-enter into the system previous protagonists of his trust (the former designator Messina), get rid of a figure with a strong personality and therefore bulky (Rizzoli), start a path with a new and credible face (Rocchi) without the which would never have received the ok of the federal president Gravina, who had already soundly rejected the articulate and clumsy project that included the hypothesis of the double designator and the idea of a political supervisor.
The level of tension between The Hague and the FIGC was higher than it has been leaked in recent weeks, so much so that it touched a sensational tear that could even lead to the risk of commissioning of the referees, if one insisted on a complex construction made of weights, counterweights, division of roles, and returns to the past that more than someone had reminded of the existing structure in the period that then led to the Calciopoli scandal. “We don’t even talk about it,” the message sent without filters. And so the initial project was put aside and «Phase 2» began, the one which, also for federal input, had to include a single and new designator. Many believed that in a season that promises to be very hot due to the presence of so many strong personalities on the benches of the big names and with the need of many clubs to relaunch their ambitions, it was a wise idea to restart from the tandem Rizzoli (designator) -Rocchi (Var manager), for a softer handover at the end of the year.
But obviously the need to highlight a change of management compared to the past has made it increasingly difficult to confirm the Bolognese designator who, even in these 4 years as regent, has collected a lot of support, in Italy and abroad, for the great work done in a decisive and complicated phase: that of the beginning of the Var era and the launch of many new referees for a difficult generational change. As in all management, there were also some errors, but the many positive aspects of the Rizzoli guide remain indisputable. Changing a management after an intense cycle is not a sin, especially if in the meantime the president who has to appoint the designator has also changed, but the way could have been faster, more direct and elegant towards those who have dedicated a brilliant career as a whistle to the world of refereeing before. and then of designator. Twice awarded the title of best referee in the world and designator from 2017 to today (from 2020 of the reunited Can A and B), Rizzoli has fielded professionalism and communication skills, which in recent weeks have made him highly sought after both in terms of of international refereeing organizations and as a presence for the new television and digital realities that tell football.
The baton of designator will thus pass to Gianluca Rocchi, born in Florence, 48 on August 25, who this year had worked alongside Rizzoli profitably, thanks also to mutual esteem and a relationship of trust and friendship. Rocchi’s curriculum, which is unlikely to refuse the task that will soon be proposed to him, is bomb-proof. He is in second place in the all-time ranking of direct matches in Serie A (263), behind only the Lo Bello Concept, which excels with 328. And he is highly esteemed not only in Italy but also abroad both in Fifa and in Uefa. The last match he directed was Juventus-Roma on the 38th matchday of Serie A, on 2 August 2020. A month later, also encouraged by the FIGC, the Hague placed him in management roles with a new position: consultant for institutional relations della Can, on the subject of Var. He was a kind of ambassador in the clubs and in the retreats of the teams to explain the new rules. He is certainly a great Var expert and this year’s experience will be invaluable.
The world of referees, however, is much more complex than a simple fan or reader thinks. And so for weeks the names of those who will be part of the commissions and of those who will have internal and intermediate roles have been dancing that almost never come to light and to the headlines, but who have a very important internal weight. In the formation of his puzzle Trentalange did not shine for speed and decision-making, but the hope is that the construction he is completing will withstand the impact, prove to be solid, of quality and find the final consensus of the Federation. A role will almost certainly also have Domenico Messina, former designator before Rizzoli. Trentalange had also thought of him as the new designator, but a change to be accepted by the FIGC could only present a “new” and credible face, that of Rocchi. Messina will probably put his experience at the service of Rocchi himself, but it will be necessary to understand with what role. In the next few days, all interested parties will be officially informed. Difficult to think of final second thoughts. Even if it will be necessary to clarify spaces, limits, competences. These long weeks so steeped in internal politics and old logic have, however, created more than one doubt. Which will have to be dispelled in order not to risk false starts.
June 29 – 12:48
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