Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi
Buffon has been branded a bad example to youngsters by the head
of Italy's refereeing association after comments he made about
AC Milan's controversially disallowed goal in Saturday's match.
Milan forward Sulley Muntari's first-half goal was not
awarded even though replays clearly showed the ball had crossed
the line before Buffon clawed it away. Milan, 1-0 ahead at the
time, were held 1-1 in the Serie A top-of-the-table clash.
Buffon later said: "I wasn't aware at the time of my
position or of Muntari's shot. Afterwards, I saw in the pictures
that the ball had gone in," he said.
"But I must be frank and say that if I had realised, I would
not have helped the referee."
Marcello Nicchi, head of the national referee's association
(AIA), said he was "disappointed with Buffon, captain of my
country's national team."
"He has said things which it would have been better to avoid
and is not a good example for the youngsters," he said in a
"Everyone has the right to his opinion but you have to be
careful given that youngsters follow the examples of champions."
Nicchi also questioned the current role of the fourth
official, saying it was "wasted."
"He is no longer good for anything except to stand guard
coaches," said Nicchi. He added that goal line technology would
help but that "it was not an Italian problem."
"We see too many ungratifying things in football," added
Nicchi. "When the ball comes into the air, there are five
players all tugging and pushing, everybody complains... there is
continual protesting, I don't know what is happening to the
players who won't accept anything."
Buffon remained defiant. "I reiterate exactly what I said on
Saturday evening," he told reporters. "The respect and esteem in
which I am held by my team-mates is enough for me.
"I don't have to justify myself, people can write what they
think, I repeat that in that situation I didn't see anything."
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