Livid Conte calls for ref sacking after penalty 'error'
MILAN, Jan 26, 2013 (AFP) - Juventus coach Antonio Conte called for a league referee to be sacked on Saturday after the Serie A champions were denied a last-gasp penalty in a 1-1 draw with Genoa.
Conte's return to the Juve bench in December, following a four-month ban due to his alleged role in a match-fixing affair, has been largely successful with the champions leading a tight race for the scudetto ahead of Napoli and Lazio.
But the former Juve player lost his cool in dramatic fashion after referee Marco Guida refused to point to the spot when the ball came off the forearm of Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist.
Instead, he awarded a corner after deciding the handling error was involuntary.
Conte and his players surrounded the referee at the end of the match, leading to cautions for Swiss midfielder Stephan Lichsteiner and striker Mirko Vucinic.
"I would accept it if he hadn't seen it, but the goalline referee said it was a penalty," Conte to Sky Italia.
"The rules are clear, the arm must be close to the body. In such cases, you have to hand in your refereeing licence."
Over the years Juventus, Italy's most powerful club and who have won a record 28 Serie A titles, have been accused of earning favours from referees and officials.
Club president Beppe Moratta added spice to the dispute when he highlighted the fact the referee "comes from Naples".
Napoli are Juventus's closest rivals, at six points adrift, and Moratta added: "It's not right that a referee from the Naples region is designated to referee a Juventus game.
"Just as a referee from Novara (a town to the west of Milan) should not be picked for a Juventus game, neither should a referee from Naples."
Although Guida failed to award a penalty to Genoa earlier in the match when the ball came off the arm of Juve striker Mirko Vucinic, Conte was adamant his side should have been given the decision.
"Even a blind man would have seen it was a penalty!
"I'll accept it if they admit their error, but hearing a referee say 'I didn't feel ready' to give the penalty is not normal. This is not football."