Calvarese criticises penalty decision against Milan saying contact is ‘not sufficient’

By Euan Burns -

Former Serie A referee Gianpaolo Calvarese has criticised the decision to award Atalanta a penalty against AC Milan on Sunday night, saying that the contact was ‘not sufficient to justify the extreme punishment’.

Calvarese spoke to Tuttosport (via Pianeta Milan) after the match and he was straight away asked about the performance of Daniele Orsato, particularly in relation to the penalty.

Milan were 1-0 up when the penalty was awarded, which came after Olivier Giroud was adjudged to have kicked Emil Holm in the box whilst the defender went for a header.

Whilst being generally complimentary of Orsato, Calvarese said it was: “A complex match at San Siro for one of the strongest referees in the world. Daniele Orsato shows his usual authority, but I don’t agree with the penalty awarded to Atalanta after on-field review in the first half.”

He went on to explain himself further, saying that the contact between Giroud and Holm was not enough to warrant a severe punishment like a penalty, a decision that angered Stefano Pioli.

He also mentioned the fact that Holm went down holding his face, despite having been kicked in the side, according to the replays.

“The intensity of the contact is not sufficient to justify the extreme punishment. Holm himself on the other hand holds his head and not his torso, where he received the kick. The VAR call from Massimiliano Irrati, also world-class, can be explained in light of an intervention threshold which in Serie A is now too low,” Calvarese said.

Tags AC Milan Atalanta


  1. It really doesn’t matter now does it? Game’s over and we’ve lost 2 additional points. Orsato should be demoted to officiate Sunday league or something.

    Elsewhere Inter got gifted 4 points from Genoa and Verona games combined in December 2023 as well as 3 points from Sassuolo match earlier this year.

  2. So… Should we listen to an ex-referee saying it wasn’t a penalty or the keyboard-warriors here saying that gentle touch (if you can even call it that) is definitely a penalty-worthy foul? 😀 😀 😀

    I know who I side with.

    1. I remember being taught that a foul in the box is called differently than a call in mid field. The harshness of a penalty warranted a harsh foul in theory. Now you have defenders hacking down players on a counter breaking the flow of the game because forwards are flopping over like house of cards and getting rewarded for it. I support using var for the objective calls, like offsides and if the ball crosses the goal line. I’d even support it used for hand ball calls if they can state clearly what’s a handball (it’s bs that it’s called differently whether it’s an attacking player or defender). The boot was high but the contact was light. If that’s a high boot then I expect it to be called that way in every game going forward. I doubt that will happen, we’ll see Theo or Leao get kicked in the chest and a ref aggressively waving them up 10/10 times.

      1. This. 100%.

        We should be entitled to similar penalties in the future too. Funny how the rugby-tackle on Theo only lead to a free-kick to Monza though as it was way more serious/clear foul than this Giroud-incident.

        And yes, it’s absolutely BS that the handballs of attacking/defending players are treated differently. Just like the GK can punch the opponents in the face without any consequences but the second the strikers finger even touches the goalies shirt, it’s a foul. Every time.

    2. Right just like in the EPL last season when Romero pulled Cucurella hair but wasn’t a fouled and the goal stands. You’re a 🤡 seeking attention.

      1. What does Romero & Cucurella have to do with this? Why would I be seeking attention?

        It surely looks like YOU are the one desperately seeking attention here by attacking me.

    3. Oh you don’t know the history with Calvarese and us do you? I’m surprised him of all people is saying something that “looks like” favouring us. When I think about, Him saying this wasn’t a pen makes sense given how many controversial incidents that happened during his time as a ref and which he got wrong. And the especially against us. Maybe go back and watch them.
      Holm holding his head doesn’t mean he hasn’t been illegally kicked. That’s irrelevant to determining illegal contact.

      “in light of an intervention (VAR) threshold which in Serie A is now too low” of course he would say this because he’s gotten many wrong calls from not using VAR when he had the option to and also using VAR incorrectly. For example, he failed to go to VAR in 2020 I think, when Romagnoli was adjudged to have fouled a Firoentina player (Chiesa I think) in the box when replays showed him getting ball first, he never went over to VAR to check. Or him calling handball on Ibra in a build up to a goal when Ibra’s hand was in a natural position on his sides. Or him being a VAR referee and not calling the handball on Alex Sandro vs Juve on Hakan’s cross. Even in the Juve-Inter 3-2 game was one of the worst reffed game ive seen brought to you by no other than Calvarese. He’s talking about soft pens here and in that game Darmian barely touched Chiellini for a pen. Plus 3 other controversial decisions in that game (one involving Irrati who he now calls “world class” is his buddy in crime that failed to call him over to VAR for the non existent foul/soft by Perisic on Cuadrado). Btw, there’s lots of other examples with him specifically. It’s like asking Donaghy for his opinion about basketball.

      So yea, no. Not because he’s a former ref means I’m going to mindlessly follow what he says because it suits my narrative and can claim “expertise” in the role. Any other ref BUT especially Calvarese I’d say would have credibility. That’s not the guy you want to han.g your hat on.

  3. Honestly VAR in its current use sucks. Too many 50/50 calls overturned. Over the last 5 years Milan has been on the right side of some dubious calls but lately they seem to be on the wrong end of every 50/50 decision. If that’s a penalty against giroud then how about giving a card to Holm, who clearly didn’t feel the contact because he grabbed his face! It’s a travesty and it rewards players for selling a foul in the box.

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