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Sunday 17 December 2017

Death threat for ref namesake

An unemployed Italian man from Florence paid the penalty for a referee's mistake after receiving death threats this week. Gianluca Rocchi shares the same name as the official who took charge of the tempestuous Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Napoli last weekend.

"It's not the first time it's happened," Rocchi said. "That's also why I follow the referee's performances to see if I need to expect some telephone threats."

Napoli were awarded a penalty in the first half for a foul that was actually outside the box and Inter midfielder Joel Obi was sent off for the same incident. Inter went on to lose 3-0, leaving home fans furious with referee Rocchi, who also sent off the Nerazzurri's new manager Claudio Raneiri at half-time for complaining.

"I always hope that he referees well. But in any case, it's never nice to hear someone tell you on the telephone they're going to kill you," admitted the victim of mistaken identity.

At least he can sleep well for now with the referee suspended from action for three weeks.

Irish Independent

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