UEFA referees chief Roberto Rosetti has clarified why Italy midfielder Jorginho was not sent off for a controversial challenge on England’s Jack Grealish during the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
Jorginho was shown a yellow card for the tackle by on-field referee Bjorn Kuipers and the VAR official on duty saw no reason to intervene, despite painful contact from the Italian’s boot high up Grealish’s leg.
Rosetti has explained that Jorginho’s contact with the ball first to win the tackle, prior to following through and connecting with Grealish, was the crucial factor. Had there been no contact with the ball first and Jorginho had solely made contact with his opponent, it would have been red.
“[Kuipers] saw Jorginho trying to play the ball – you can see him put his right foot on the ball and this is 100% clear and then the right foot is slipping on the ball and there is a second contact on the leg of the white seven player,” Rosetti is quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“The referee explained to the VAR exactly what he saw on the field of play.
“What is the duty of VAR? To check perfectly what the referee saw. So, for example, if the right foot was not on the ball but directly on the leg then the [decision would be overturned].”
Rosetti also defended the decision of referee Danny Makkelie to award England what proved to be a decisive penalty in extra-time of the semi-final against Denmark, which had been controversial and yielded an online petition demanding that UEFA replay the game.
Danish defender Joakim Maehle was penalised for making contact with Raheem Sterling and Rosetti insists the decision to award a penalty was the correct one and ‘not a scandal’.
“[Makkelie] saw red defender number five – he didn’t play the ball,” Rosetti said.
“The right leg of the defender, Danny saw the contact against the right leg of the [England] player. This is what the referee saw in the field of play and VAR confirmed the decision: the red five defender didn’t touch the ball. We can discuss the intensity of the contact of course but we always want the referee to be at the centre of the decision-making process.”