‘Without us, referees would be peeling potatoes!’ – Napoli chief blasts official for sending off ‘gentleman’ Ancelotti

The outspoken president has not held back in his criticism of the officials and the standard of refereeing in general

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has launched an extraordinary attack on the referee after manager Carlo Ancelotti was sent off during his side’s 2-2 draw against Atalanta in Serie A on Wednesday.

The home side were left incensed after they were denied a late penalty for Simon Kjaer’s challenge on Fernando Llorente.

While Napoli were protesting, Atalanta went straight up the other end of the field to equalise through Josip Ilicic.

The penalty incident went to VAR review, but after a lengthy stoppage the goal stood, sparking a furious reaction from the Napoli players and coaching staff.

In the ensuing melee Ancelotti and his assistant, son Davide, were both sent off while Lorenzo Insigne was booked for his protests.

Speaking after the game, Laurentiis did not hold back in his criticism of referee Pino Giacomelli.

“Without us, the referees would be peeling potatoes,” De Laurentiis told Sky Sport Italia.

“If there has been VAR it’s pointless creating eight minutes of additional time because all that happens has been pushing and shouting.

“And what has been this buffoonery from the referee who kicks out a gentleman like Ancelotti? We’re fed up. We’re tired of paying for this standard of officiating.”

Carlo Ancelotti Napoli 2019-20

De Laurentiis also took aim at Italian chief of referees Marcello Nicchi and referee designator Nicola Rizzoli.

“I don’t think Rizzoli and Nicchi do their job well,” he added. “They’ll say that it’s not for De Laurentiis to say, but what I will say has been that I, like the other Serie A Presidents who help ensure Serie B and Serie C both exist, have the right to be heard.

“Otherwise, Mr Rizzoli and Nicchi will have 80 million Italians, who are tired of this arrogance and haughtiness, to answer for.

“This version of football has been insanely sick that we haven’t been able to change it for 30 years now.

“We’re tired of being involuntary supporters of referees, also in a financial sense. We can’t allow the highest-ranking Serie A teams to run up debts of €300m and still let these people play.”

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Ancelotti was also unhappy at his treatment, saying: “I consider what happened an attack on my professionalism, my players and my club.”

Nikola Maksimovic and Arkadiusz Milik had twice put Napoli in front at Stadio San Paolo, with Remo Freuler scoring Atalanta’s first equaliser before Ilicic’s controversial late strike.

The draw keeps Atalanta third in Serie A, five points behind leaders Juventus, Napoli drop one place to sixth on goal difference behind Lazio.



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