Another weekend, another VAR controversy. After the criticism of Michael Fabbri for his officiating during the Juventus v Milan game, Rosario Abisso has also ended up also in the controversy cauldron for his decisions during Lazio’s match vs Sassuolo. The crime: calling for a penalty kick in favor of the Biancocelesti for a foul committed by Manuel Locatelli on Patric’s cross. The ball hit the back of the ex-Milan midfielder first, before striking his arm. In recent years, there is a misconception that if the ball first touches another part of the body and then the arm, it’s never a penalty. This is wrong. The rule on handballs says the following:
A handball that occurs after the ball has bounced off another part of the body is not automatically unintentional in itself.
This means that Lazio’s penalty is justified. However, the uniformity of judgment is another thing.
This call stings for Sassuolo and their fans, considering the night before the same situation was not considered a penalty in the Juventus vs Milan game, with Alex Sandro committing a similar foul. It is a good thing to discuss the penalty given to Lazio, as it should help set the standard for the future in cases such as this. However, let’s not forget the penalty that Simone Inzaghi’s men deserved in the first half, something which was picked up by most papers in Italy. La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Alessandro Catapano wrote:
At the 8-minute mark, Demiral slipped and fell to the ground behind Immobile: damage was caused, contact was made – that was a penalty.
This shows the lack of uniformity of judgment that still exists, even with VAR. However, considering that referees are only human, mistakes will still happen, VAR or not. That’s the way football works…