Female official who had handshake 'snubbed' by Serie A ref defends him from sexism allegations

Female official who had handshake 'snubbed' by Serie A ref defends him from sexism allegations
An Italian referee has been defended by the female assistant whom he appeared to decline to shake hands with before a Serie A fixture.

Juan Luca Sacchi, who was the official in the middle for Lecce's Serie A clash against Sassuolo last weekend, decided not to shake hands with assistant Francesca Di Monte in the tunnel.

Footage on social media shows Di Monte outstretching her hand towards Sacchi, who had walked to the front of the queue to enter the pitch.

Sacchi initially turned towards the assistant and offered his own hand, before turning away towards Lecce skipper Gabriel Strefazza and shaking his hand instead - having already shook the hand of Sassuolo captain Gian Marco Ferrari.

Di Monte looked taken aback on the footage, before appearing to shake her head.

A wider-angle view of the incident shows that Sacchi also did not shake the hand of the other assistant referee in the tunnel.

Sacchi is quoted as saying, after the match: "I have a splendid relationship with her, at the end of the match we laughed together about the episode."

Di Monte, meanwhile, is quoted as telling Italian news agency ANSA (via Gazzetta dello Sport): "I'm sorry that a simple gesture of misunderstanding was defined as a case.

"I read strong words towards a colleague who showed no lack of respect and towards an instinctive gesture which was instead defined as sexist."

According to Correire della Sera (via TMW), Sacchi is set to be punished for the incident by serving a one-match suspension from Serie A fixtures - although this is yet to be confirmed.

It is claimed that Italian referee designator Gianluca Rocchi has 'already reprimanded the referee in private'.

The footage reportedly caused 'great embarrassment' among leaders of the Italian Referees Association (AIA).

In a statement, they told ANSA (via Football Italia): "We can absolutely exclude that this was a sexist gesture or a personal snub. As far as we are concerned, it is not a problem, it was only an involuntary gesture that was misinterpreted.

"The two colleagues worked well during the match and their performance was excellent."

Sacchi has officiated in four fixtures across Serie A and Serie B this season, including Roma's 7-0 win over Empoli last month, and was also in charge of a match in Cyprus between Aris Limassol and Apollon.
Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url