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Italian football commentator apologises for comments about lineswoman

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MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian television commentator has apologised for describing the presence of a lineswoman as “disgusting” and “a joke” at a regional match.

Sergio Vessicchio’s comments on CanaleCinqueTv came before kickoff at the match between Agropoli and Sant’Agnello on Sunday in the fifth tier of the Italian league as the lineswoman, Annalisa Moccia, was inspecting one of the nets.

“It is disgusting to see a woman as a match official in a league where clubs spend hundreds of thousands of euros,” he said. “It is a joke for the federation to do such a thing, it’s disgraceful on a football field.”

Vessicchio reiterated his criticism in a tweet after the match.

“I personally think that women refereeing in football is wrong for many reasons, so I confirm my thoughts,” he said.

However, he later apologised.

“I was wrong, I did something stupid,” he said in an interview with CRC radio. “I expressed myself badly… the broadcast was live and I could not take back what I said.”

He said his criticism was aimed at the federation and the system.

“I immediately noticed that I had said nonsense and will pay the consequences.”

There was no immediate comment from the broadcaster CanaleCinqueTv.

Agropoli, who won 2-0, issued a “message of solidarity” for Moccia.

“The club firmly believes in the value of women, including those present in the world of football, be they assistant referees, coaches and players,” said its president Domenico Cerruti on the club website.

The incident happened on the same weekend that Juventus Women played at the club’s Allianz Arena for the first time in front of a 39,000 crowd, by far the biggest attendance for a women’s match in Italy.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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