Sergio Gonella

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Sergio Gonella (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛrdʒo ɡoˈnɛlla]; born 23 May 1933, in Asti, Italy) is an Italian businessman (Bank Manager) and a noted football referee. He was the first Italian appointed to referee the FIFA World Cup final, which occurred when he took charge of the 1978 final between Argentina and the Netherlands.[1] He is one of only two persons (the other being the Swiss Gottfried Dienst) to have refereed both the European Championship final and the World Cup Final.

Referee career[edit]

Gonella's professional career began in 1965 when he debuted in the Serie A. In 1972 he was promoted to the UEFA. In 1975 he refereed the SuperCup final match. He refereed the 1976 European Championship match. He refereed the 1978 FIFA World Cup, after which he retired, having refereed 175 matches in Serie A.[2]

Gonella garnered media attention when he delayed the start of the World Cup final. This occurred when the Argentinians protested an arm bandage worn by Dutch defender René van de Kerkhof. The Dutch team argued that the bandage was passed by FIFA and had already been worn by Kerkhof during earlier matches in the tournament, and they threatened to walk off the field. Finally an extra layer of padding was applied to the bandage as a solution, and the match was started.[3]


Preceded by
England Jack Taylor
FIFA World Cup final match referees
Italy Sergio Gonella
Succeeded by
Brazil Arnaldo Cézar Coelho
Preceded by
Austria Ferdinand Marschall
UEFA European Championship final match referees
Italy Sergio Gonella
Succeeded by
Romania Nicolae Rainea