Local Event Sports Association

Italian Soccer: Crackdown on Blasphemy, A Policy in Vain

By Mike Lieberman On March - 6 - 2010

“Oh God!”

The phrase can mean a lot of things in the context of a sporting event: Exasperation after a bad play, disagreement with an official’s call, or merely a casual request for divine intervention.

Utter those words on the pitch in an Italian professional soccer match, though, and you might get more than you bargained for.

Like a red card and a subsequent one-game suspension.

Italian soccer officials recently concluded that blasphemous outbursts fall under the umbrella of “offensive, insulting or abusive language” and, therefore, should be penalized with an ejection and suspension.

That’s right, make a comment about a deity in the wrong tone of voice, and you can hit the showers.

And if you think Italian officials are taking this new edict lightly, think again. They even have technology on their side. Last week, Chievo player Michele Marcolini was captured by a camera apparently muttering “dio” (God) as he left the field after picking up a red card.

That’s right, a camera.

He didn’t scream it at the top of his lungs, making nuns we...

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