Audio from the VAR room recorded when Francesco Acerbi’s offside goal against Spezia was wrongly awarded has been released.
The 34-year-old Lazio defender netted a last minute winner against the Ligurian side back on 30th April with a close range header, a goal that immediately sparked controversy as the former Sassuolo man appeared to be an obviously offside position when scoring. The goal stood and it was another incident in a growing list of glaring officiating errors.
At one point during the discussions regarding the legality of the goal, an “ok” is heard, which on-pitch referee Luca Pairetto interprets as the go-ahead, so he awards the goal. In reality, the check was still in progress, so the VAR room exploded in confusion. “F**k, why did he restart?! Luca, stop, stop.”
By that point, it was too late, and the goal stood. Lazio picked up three points as a result of that win, enough to see them finish fifth in the Serie A table, one point ahead of intercity rivals Roma.
Referee Designator Gianluca Rocchi commented on the incident in a press conference.
It hurts us to explain this episode, it’s hard to do so. It is a communication short circuit, from this episode I started to ask myself what to do to avoid such a mistake.
I suspended all six because it’s not acceptable, not that the referee restarted the game, nor that VAR allowed him to do so, nor that the assistants didn’t say anything. Here the check was not taken into account.
A communication error for all intents and purposes. Pairetto dwelled on the extra time, he wanted to communicate it within the precise 45 minutes and ‘unconsciously’ shifted the focus from a technical thing to something that had nothing to do with it.
We mustn’t crucify a referee for an error, the cold reading we gave is this, he shifted the focus from one aspect to another.