All the Mourinho and Roma complaints about referees and VAR

by | May 10, 2022 19:17

Jose Mourinho ranted against referees and VAR, claiming they have cost Roma ‘many points’ this season, but what are the incidents he was referring to?

The coach let loose after the 2-0 defeat to Fiorentina, openly blaming VAR Luca Banti for calling back the referee for an on-field review when Rick Karsdorp made slight contact with Nico Gonzalez’s shin for a penalty.

“We know that we have the respect of the Roma fans, but we also want respect from the Bantis of this world, who sit in their comfortable chairs and have taken many, many points away from this team.”

The first complaint Roma had was in fact a 1-0 victory over Udinese on September 23, when Lorenzo Pellegrini received a second yellow card for jumping with arm raised, sparking a ban that forced him to miss the derby against Lazio.

During the derby, Pedro scored on the counter-attack from a move where the Giallorossi thought Elseid Hysaj had fouled Nicolò Zaniolo, but VAR did not intervene.

They also wanted Lucas Leiva to receive a second yellow card for a high elbow on Bryan Cristante.

During the 1-0 defeat to Juventus on October 17, the referee stopped play to award a penalty before Tammy Abraham put the ball into the back of the net rather than give the advantage.

Roma went on to miss the penalty, neutralised by Wojciech Szczesny.

It is relatively rare for a referee to keep the same decision after an on-field review, but that is what Fabio Maresca did during the 2-1 defeat to Milan in October 2021.

He assigned the spot-kick for a coming together between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Roger Ibanez, sticking by his opinion even after VAR called him over for a second look.

During the final minutes of the same match, VAR did not call Maresca when Simon Kjaer seemed to catch Pellegrini on the ankle as they both went for a high ball.

Roma felt VAR should’ve intervened during the 3-2 defeat to Venezia when the Lagunari received a penalty, as Sofian Kiyine might’ve pushed Ibanez in the build-up to Cristante’s foul.

Milan received another penalty against the Giallorossi for Abraham grazing the Theo Hernandez shot with an outstretched arm.

There were another two incidents in the same match, fairly similar challenges from Sandro Tonali on Zaniolo and Gianluca Mancini on Rafael Leao, but only one of those was a penalty.

The issue of identifying handball is always tricky, especially when the ball hits another part of the body first, but Roma felt Matthijs de Ligt’s arm was in an unnatural enough position to warrant VAR intervention in the chaotic 4-3 defeat to Juventus on January 9.

Mourinho accused the authorities of considering Roma to be “small” in their eyes after the 0-0 draw with Genoa, which had Zaniolo at the centre of controversy.

He had a late winner disallowed for a previous foul and then received two yellow cards for dissent.

Things reached a head in the 1-1 draw with Napoli on April 18, claiming he was “ashamed” for the VAR and referee.

“We are not a club challenging for the Scudetto, but we still want the right to at least try to win games.”

Napoli defender Alessandro Zanoli was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card on two different occasions, while Zaniolo had a penalty appeal rejected when the goalkeeper caught him after an initial save.


  1. sailor121

    In Europe, where they don’t get Italian refs, Roma has done quite well over the last few years. In fact, they do better than a lot of Italian teams: several semi-finals and now a final. What other Italian team has done that recently? Ever wonder why?

  2. Ibrahim Rabah

    Funny about you do one about the decisions thats favoured Roma..

  3. NYC guy

    not sure why but Roma is always losing points like that, and the Italian league doesn’t really care, strange.

  4. magic

    @Ibrahim Rabah – please name them? The only decision that went Roma‘s way and shouldn’t was during the first game against Atalanta.
    Also, it’s more about why VAR wasn’t used when there’s enough ground for doubts!

  5. Iolo

    @Ibrahim Rabah – if you’re discussing Serie A, that’s going to be one very short article.

  6. dr. mongo

    Not many favored Roma this season. It’s been a joke.

  7. I giardini di marzo

    Their image the whole season is BAD. Nothing else matters. They don’t play good football, they have been extremely lucky when got equalisers in many games in stopages in which games they deserved to lose by 3 goals like the game vs udinese away. Their goal difference is bad etc. They can cry about referees all they want, their football is BAD though and that’s a fact.

  8. ROMAntic

    Susy, thank you for the article. You put a lot of research and time into it, I really appreciate it. Hopefully other Romanisti will be grateful as well.

  9. forzaroma

    Thank you! There are a few omissions, but I appreciate the article. Off the top of my head – Roma v Verona 73′ Roma denied a penalty for a challenge on Pelligrini, Roma v Torino 39′ Roma denied a penalty (that was initially awarded) after TEN minutes of Var review, penalty was denied because Abraham’s TRAILING foot was “offside”.

    Those querying the motive of this article, I challenge you to watch the incidents catalogued!

  10. ROMAntic

    It would also be interesting to know how many refs got suspended after officiating Roma games. I believe the number is higher than 5.

  11. ROMAntic

    The last Bologna match is also not mentioned where Medel clearly handled the ball. The footage which VAR produced was laughable and manipulative, there were much better views of the incident!
    I also remember a clear foul on Mkhitaryan that incredibly wasn’t whistled in the Salernitana game. Roma barely won that day with two very late goals.

  12. ROMAntic

    But the study is truly superb! Suzy could have written ten or twenty other articles in the time she had to work on this one.

  13. forzaroma

    @ROMAntic, yup absolutely spot on, if there was no fault they wouldn’t have suspended those officials! And yes the Bologna Mendal penalty was an absolute joke!

  14. Ubirov

    Mourinho is a sour loser. When he doesn’t win someone must take the blame. He’ll soon run out of excuses and get the boot…

  15. Franco

    Jose will always complain. When his team wins, its all because of him, but losses are everyone else’s fault.

    Its time VAR is scrapped though because it’s made the sport excruciating to watch. VAR isn’t used correctly or fairly, so Fifa should scrap it

  16. Forza italia

    Mourinho complains about referees everywhere he goes. I think he plays the victim to motivate his players. He’s done it his whole career.

  17. GAIA

    Mafia league.
    If referee OBVIOUSLY doesn’t destroy Roma, Roma should;ve been in top 4 now..
    the table now is ordered and you can clearly see which team the referee helped from out of top 5 earlier this season and now is in top 4 🙂 It’s OBVIOUS…. once again, it’s OBVIOUS.


  18. calciopoli

    roma itself has been helped by the referees. one of the latest example is against leicester city at olimpico. many foul,corners are not being given to leicester and even the clear foul by smalling that should be a penalty for leicester in the early minute. now mourinho play victim to cover his shortcoming and blames everybody in the world except himself.

  19. Fred

    Roma don’t play good football? Hahahah is that a joke or what?. Any Italian team in any European finals? I guess Roma was lucky, why are the other Italian teams not lucky enough?.
    Shame some of you can’t even appreciate Jose’s brilliant. Too much negativity about him, ge has done it, been there done that. Roma plays very good football stop crying.

  20. sailor121

    Hey calciopoli, the article was about Italian referees and Roma, not international refs. And that’s what we were talking about here. When international refs call the games Roma does better than other Italian teams. The international refs err both ways in Roma games. In Serie A, by contrast, the refs clearly screw Roma far more than they err in Roma’s favor. That’s why Roma does better than other Italian teams internationally. In Italy, they often have to play against the refs too, while internationally they only have to play against the other teams.

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