A note that made noise, the rumor of a dismissal and a meeting in Ezeiza. All in the midst of the biggest crisis in living memory in Argentine arbitration. The AFA was shaken last night, when Juan José Jozami, member of the Disciplinary Tribunal, proposed to play Gimnasia-Sarmiento again. Pablo Toviggino, executive secretary of the AFA, asked for his head. The former journalist and lawyer himself, in dialogue with Clarín, said that he has not yet received any call. "But if I have to go, I'm leaving," he challenged.
Simultaneously, this noon at the Lionel Andrés Messi grounds, Federico Beligoy gathered the men with the whistle and pulled their ears. The Director of Arbitration, instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes in conduct, suggested that there be no leaks to the press. Not even "off".
"I would play the game again, more with recognition from the referee. I would reschedule it for another day and with another referee. You could also validate the goal and give Gimnasia the game for won," Jozami said Monday in an interview with the program Sensations (Radio Del Pueblo AM 830).
A while later, in Sacá del Medio (Radio Continental AM 590), Fernando Mitjans came out to clarify the situation. "It is impossible for the Gimnasia-Sarmiento match to be played again. We are prohibited from playing a match again due to a refereeing error. In other countries matches were played again but because corruption was proven, "fired the president of the Court of Discipline.
The decision of Ariel Penel, badly advised by Diego Abal from the VAR, generated an explosion in the foundations of the mother house of football. Cancelling Felipe Sánchez's goal for a corner offside was not only an anti-regulation dispossession; Also, it laid bare the weak level of the referee. And he again exposed Beligoy, Director of Arbitration, who not only decided to suspend Penel and Abal; also, Diego Carretero, who was in the VOR booth as AVAR; Gabriel Favale, Quality Manager; and attendees Ariel Scime and Diana Milone; and the fourth referee, Ramiro López.
As Clarín was able to find out, Scime warned Penel and the referees who followed the actions from the booth that there was no offside of Antonio Napolitano. "Here there are eight cameras that indicate otherwise," they replied to the line judge who was in the sector. And they closed the microphone, as the protocol indicates, so that there is no interference in the communication between the main referee and Ezeiza.
When everyone arrived at the locker room and reviewed the play they had been sent via WhatsApp, they could not believe what had happened. "They took us to do a shit," was heard between the four walls of the referees' dressing room at the Juan Carmelo Zerrillo stadium. Penel followed the instructions of the VAR, because it was a factual move that did not merit review. There was a very strong argument with Abal. Hence, the offer of apology to Sebastián Romero, coach of Gimnasia, who expressed himself at the press conference.
Chiqui Tapia with Federico Beligoy and part of the arbitration in October 2020, during VAR training.
Why did they stop Scime, who warned them of the move? And why did Milone and Lopez suffer the same fate? There is a lot of anger among those involved with Beligoy, who is also the union secretary of the Argentine Association of Arbitrators. It is difficult for them to claim him because he fulfills the double function, he is part of the union and the employers.
All the protagonists of the Offside-Gate sent Beligoy an email – at the request of the head of the referees' office, Sergio Garcia, at Tapia's demand – as a discharge. He only answered Milone. Penel tried to reach him and got no response. For the judge born in Avellaneda it is inexplicable that they stopped him considering that in the cabin there were two former international colleagues such as Abal and Favale, and that he followed the rules. Only today he came face to face with the Director of Arbitration.
Although Beligoy said last year that Argentine arbitration "is at its best," what happens date by date denies it. Claudio Tapia is focused on the Under-20 World Cup, but Toviggino is pending. And the Director of Refereeing is already beginning to be looked at sideways. With all the FIFA officials in Argentina, what happened in Gimnasia-Sarmiento was a piece of paper.
Beligoy, meanwhile, gathered the judges of the First Division and focused on the following issues: management with the players, vocabulary so that sooner or later the audios of the VAR can be known as it happens in international matches and demanded that they do not talk to journalists, even informally. Will you think you can cover the sun with your hands?