Italian authorities reject resignation of Collina

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The Independent Football

Critics deemed the 45-year-old's decision to sign a contract with the team sponsor of Milan a conflict of interest, and ultimately forced Collina to tender his resignation.

"No one expected it," admitted Lanese. I will call for an AIA [Italian Referees' Association] meeting to take place in order to reject Collina's resignation."

Collina was due to referee the World Cup qualifier between Spain and Serbia & Montenegro on 7 September but has been replaced by England's Graham Poll.

The Italian football president, Franco Carraro, has joined a growing band of people who hope to see Collina involved in Serie A. "I am a fan of Collina and I am very grateful for what he has done for Italian football," said Carraro. "I am happy that Lanese will not accept his resignation."

Italy's coach, Marcello Lippi, was also disappointed by Collina's retirement. "To lose someone like him is a big blow," Lippi said.