Roma president Pallotta hit with three-month UEFA suspension after refereeing criticisms

UEFA has slapped Roma president James Pallotta with a series of matchday sanctions following his criticism of Champions League referees.

The American will serve a three-month ban from performing official duties in European fixtures after labelling the officiating in May’s semi-final second-leg clash with Liverpool as “embarrassing” and calling for VAR to be introduced.

Roma lost the tie 7-6 on aggregate despite a 4-2 win in the return encounter at Stadio Olimpico.

Pallotta later laughed off the proceedings after UEFA issued an improper conduct charge.

“I’m surprised by the opening of this disciplinary procedure,” Pallotta told Italian news agency ANSA.

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“For me it is UEFA’s conduct which is inappropriate. What do I think? I’m dying of laughter.”

The American’s suspension prevents him from communicating with players and coaches, while he is not allowed to enter the technical area, dressing room or tunnel before or during matches.

The sanctions come into force beginning with Roma’s first appearance in a European competition this season.

Roma enjoyed a shock run to the last four during 2017-18 after dispatching Barcelona in a thrilling quarter-final comeback. 

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Pallotta was also sanctioned following that tie, as he was forced to pay a €500 fine after backflipping into a Roman fountain during celebrations. 

The president took his punishment that time in good grace, and despite his ban will once again be a colourful presence in the European competition during 2018-18.

Roma and Pallotta will be back in the race for the coming season after finishing third in Serie A behind Juventus and Napoli, sealing another Champions League spot.