Since his disastrously officiated game at the Stadio Olimpico on matchday 16 of the Serie A season, referee Piero Giacomelli's life has been turned upside down.
After failing to penalise a blatant Iago Falque handball in the Torino penalty area and subsequently showing Lazio star Ciro Immobile a harsh red card for a supposed headbutt on Nicolas Burdisso, Lazio fans have seemingly taken out a vendetta upon the Italian official.
Last week, Le Aquile faithful took to TripAdvisor to voice their displeasure at Giacomelli's performance through a barrage of one star reviews of the referee's café.
In recent days, however, the story has gone from a tone of hilarity to one of incrimination. It has been reported that Piero Giacomelli has broken FIGC rules regarding officials' use of social media accounts by posting an image of Roma Legend Francesco Totti, on a Facebook account with the pseudonym "Jack O'Melly". The FIGC have now launched an official investigation into the referee's Facebook account.
The image of Totti that was posted by Giacomelli has caused unsurprising uproar among Lazio fans, who have cited the image of their greatest rival's greatest ever player as proof of the referee's biased officiating during Le Aquile's recent 3-1 defeat at the hands of Torino.
A group of disaffected Lazio fans have gone as far as threatening to sue Piero Giacomelli for damages. According to ANSA (via Football Italia), the fans' class action reads:
“The conduct of the two officials gravely deviated from the Laws of the Game, the AIA’s guide for officials and subsequent recommendations of the Technical Sector regarding the detection of the handball, depriving the team of a sacrosanct penalty kick,” read the class action’s note, ANSA reports.
“This was made worse a few seconds later, when VAR was also requested regarding the contact between Burdisso and Immobile, at which time the further error of the Lazio player being sent off was committed, leaving the Torino player unpunished.”
Despite the intense scrutiny surrounding Giacomelli, the FIGC assigned the official to preside of VAR in Atalanta's Coppa Italia meeting with Sassoulo.