Juventus' Gigi Buffon to be Punished for Blasphemy

Josep Vernet-RieraCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2010

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 14:  Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus FC celebrates victory after the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Genoa CFC at Stadio Olimpico on February 14, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Imagine you are the goalkeeper. Your team is leading by two goals to one in an important league encounter. Suddenly, a player of the opposing team makes a nice cross, you gather the ball, but it slips away from your fingertips and a striker of the opposing side tucks the ball away.

Of course, you are deeply frustrated and you shout "God." The referee didn't hear you, but through lip reading techniques, some Italian FA officials figure out through the replay that Juventus' goalie, Gigi Buffon, said "Dio"—in vain, may I promptly add.

In 21st century Italy this is enough to get a red card and/or a suspension for more than one game. The rule is quite an upgrade if you look back some centuries ago and see that people were executed because of similar actions.

According to the new "Blasphemy Law," the Italian FA allows referees to send off any player who says God's name in vain. The player could also get suspended by the FA if the referee did not punish him. In this case, all you need is a replay, which confirms the player was saying "God."

Buffon promptly explained the misunderstanding by saying that he spoke out the word "Zio" (Uncle) and not the word "Dio" (God).

"The idea may be be fair, but let's see who can prove that the player said Dio, Zio or Dino," said Buffon.

Well, the lip-reading market is going to reach new heights in Italy, that is for sure. 

Of course, punishing blasphemy is still not enough. According to the Italian FA's new rules, players who show t-shirts with personal messages to their family or their girlfriend, or which make a reference to their religious beliefs will also be punished.

Which means that those celebrations accompanied by diabolical messages such as "I belong to Jesus," "Jesus Loves You," "Happy Birthday Jimmy," or "Get well soon, Grandpa" are going to be banned from Italian stadiums. 

In other news, the Italian FA is also planning on burning players who commit adultery at the stake. (John Terry, you just got lucky that Capello hasn't heard of this method.)