Italian state broadcaster threatens to sue FIFA

RAI threaten to sue soccer’s ruling body over Italian team’s exit.

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By  Marcus Webb Published  June 22, 2002

The Italian state broadcaster, RAI, is threatening to sue soccer's ruling body for lost advertising revenue, claiming refereeing errors led to Italy's shock exit from the World Cup.

The Italian state broadcaster, RAI, said it was considering launching a legal action on the basis that Fifa should be held responsible for poor refereeing decisions in the second round match on Tuesday, in which Italy lost to South Korea 2-1 after an extra time "golden" goal.

The Italians are incensed about a disallowed goal scored by their own side in extra time, which was ruled offside, and the sending off of playmaker Francesco Totti.

"[The case] would seek to have FIFA reimburse damages suffered by [RAI] following the exit of the Italian team from the World Cup on the basis of universally recognised refereeing errors, errors that were so blatant they could only be described as the product of serious fraud," RAI said in a statement.

RAI paid World Cup rights owner Kirch around £93m to show the 2002 and 2006 tounaments.

Games involving the national side in Korea and Japan were drawing audiences of up to 20 million viewers on RAI, but interest in the tournament is now expected to drop dramatically.

The president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, interviewed in Italian sports daily La Gazzette dello Sport yesterday, agreed that some of the refereeing in the World Cup had been poor, but told Italy to stop being such bad losers.

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