Rizzoli gives up on World Cup 2018

The last image with Nicola Rizzoli at a World Cup will remain the final whistle of the 2014 final won by Germany against Argentina at the Maracana in Brazil. The Italian referee, who was among those pre-selected by FIFA for the next World Cup, has decided to give up on Russia 2018. The news was revealed by the AIA president Marcello Nicchi. Rizzoli wrote in his letter: "Everything has a beginning and certainly everything has an end. I think it is fair to leave the same opportunity to other referees. The time to take a step back is always important and complicated. But I believe that, once the decision is made, it is right to live the feelings completely and fully, as I always have. Therefore, after sharing my decision to give up the path that could lead to Russia in 2018, I think it's time for thanks. I will never be able to personally thank all the people, small or large, who contributed to personal achievements of an unforgettable international career. Successes, as I have always said, are part of an important group - the Italian referees. For this reason, the main thanks go to AIA. Today, I maintain the enthusiasm of a kid and the experience of a man and mature referee. As always, I will cheer and will support with all my skills the referee who will have the honour of representing the AIA at the World Cup in Russia".
Rizzoli will leave room for another Italian referee at next year’s World Cup, but he will continue to referee in Serie A. The favourite to represent Italy in Russia becomes Gianluca Rocchi. The AIA president Nicchi had previously been informed of Rizzoli’s intention and, after receiving the letter, he decided to make it public to emphasize his high quality as a person and referee. "Nicola Rizzoli is a model for many young referees, which I hope will follow the passion and professionalism that he has always shown on the field", said the Italian federation president, Carlo Tavecchio, about Rizzoli’s decision to give up his participation in the selection for the World Cup in Russia in 2018. "Rizzoli, he added, has confirmed, in an incredible career, the talent and quality of Italian referees Italian, representing our country in the final of a World Cup and helping to write some of the most important pages in the history of Italian football within the last few years". The AIA president, Marcello Nicchi, thanked Rizzoli. "This initiative reflects the high qualities, known by the whole Association, the FIGC and the international organizations, of Rizzoli, as a person and a referee, a true sportsman who always worked and will continue to do so for the growth of our Association and refereeing culture".

Source: AIA/Mediaset