Maurizio Zamparini drew attention to himself this weekend in the wake of Palermo's 3-1 loss at Calgiari, though the Rosanero president was trying to push the spotlight in a different direction. Incensed by a perceived officiating error that allowed Calgiari's first goal, Zamparini not only took Sunday's arbitrators to task but also decried the 12-13 calls that have gone against his team in the first half of the season. At least, that's his depiction.
While that may have sounded like hyperbole - the emoting of a man frustrated by a perceived wrong - Zamparini's anger has not dissipated in the days following the loss. Instead, the Palermo man has reloaded, providing details to his claim of 12-13 wrongs. And Corriere dello Sport had each of them this morning.
Via the power of Google Translate with a common sense review, here are Zamparini's charges:
2nd match: BRESCIA-PALERMO 3-2
Penalty for a foul by Munoz to Brescia on Caracciolo, but the defender acts on the ball.
3rd match: INTER-PALERMO 1-2
At least suspect non-calls in Inter's area, Chivu on Cassani and Nocerino and Santon on Maccarone.
5th match: Palermo-Lecce 2-2
11 whistled offside in Palermo, several slips of the linesman.
6th match: PALERMO-FIORENTINA 1-2
Palermo denied a penalty for a foul on Pinilla, Gamberini granted a Fiorentina peanlty (then saved by Sirigu) for a hand ball by Balzaretti.
8th match: Udinese-Palermo 2-1
The corner that led to the penalty (generous) for Udinese is non-existent.
9th match: PALERMO-LAZIO 0-1
Lichtsteiner hand ball in the area off Balzaretti's cross, judged irrelevant.
11th match: MILAN-PALERMO 3-1
Denied two penalties to Rosanero, the blatant hand ball by Boateng in the wall. Action of the penalty awarded to AC Milan (2-1), Ambrosini is pursuing the ball with his arm.
15th match: NAPOLI-PALERMO 1-0
Contact area between the opposing player and Aronica Ilicic. The defender puts his hand into the face of the Slovene.
17th match: BARI-PALERMO 1-1
Penalty awarded to Bari for a supposed push, Goian on Rivas.
19th match: Chievo-Palermo 0-0
Denied a penalty for Pastore, obstructed and taken down by by Rigoni in the closing moments.
20th match: CAGLIARI-PALERMO 3-1
The first goal of Matri obviously offside, while Maccarone was stopped in place twice.
There are two ways to take in that list, both of which should be filtered through the realization that this is a bitter, bitter man. First, you can conclude this Zamparini has the right to be bitter. The list speaks for itself.
But if you watch enough soccer you know that's a difficult stance to take. A partisan and motivated observer is sure to pick up a number of missed calls each game. It's the nature of the sport, for officials to miss calls, and it's an unfair standard to expect perfection.
While Zamparini's not saying he wants perfect officiating, he certainly is advocating more balance, ironic because if there's one thing his charges lack, it's balance. He's formulated a list from the perspective of a Rosanero - somebody with motive to find as many anti-Palermo calls as possible. What would a list of pro-Rosanero calls look like? Or, a list of calls that went against Palermo's opponents? And how would those lists look if they were made by Palermo's most ardent detractors?
Officiating is a tough business, the truism should hold, but it's also one that needs criticism. We've seen enough arrogant or oblivious referees to know somebody has to keep them in check. But those checks demand balance, especially considering the notion of partiality is the most powerful way to undermine a referee (as the Italian league should know).
Zamparini may be right. Palermo may be getting a raw deal this season. But his list does little to prove so.