Dismissed Umpire for Inappropriate Remarks
In the global arena of international tennis, it is not uncommon for legends of the court to misbehave sometimes. This kind of behaviour is frowned upon by the ATP and often results in players being slammed with hefty fines. This time around it is however not a Nick Kyrgios or even a Williams sister who has been misbehaving, but indeed an umpire who made himself guilty of sexual harassment towards one of the underage ball girls. In addition to this offence, he was also in conversation with one of the players during their toilet break, which is considered to be another violation of ATP rules. Gianluca Moscarella has been dismissed from his position with immediate effect, while the investigation continues into his alleged offences.
Calling Her Sexy
During last week’s Florence Challenger, Gianluca Moscarella was in the chair as an umpire during a match between Pedro Sous and Enrico Dalla Valle. It was roughly around the end of the first set which they played that the voice of Moscarella could be heard, speaking to the ball girl who was kneeling next to his umpire chair. The ball girl was only sixteen years old. Even though he was talking in a foreign language, it was understood that he said to the girl that he thinks she is fantastic and that he considers her to be very sexy. He also asked her if she was physically or emotionally hot. His behaviour is deemed to be sexual harassment of the young girl. This was not his only time which he disregarded the ATP rule book.
Some video footage also surfaced of Moscarella in conversation with one of the players during a toilet break, Pedro Sousa, telling him to stay focused and commenting about the heat which is too much. Moscarella was not enjoying the hot temperature and urged Sousa to finish the game off quickly so that all can get out of the heat sooner. Umpires aren’t allowed to converse with players except when on the court.
The Italian umpire has been in his position since 2010. During his career as an umpire, he has excelled to the point where he was one of the ATP’s gold badge umpires. This is the highest level that an arbitrator can achieve. Moscarella was immediately suspended when the video footage was brought under the attention of the ATP until further investigation has been completed.
Moscarella isn’t the first ATP umpire who was dismissed from his position this year. Recently they also suspended the 44-year-old Damian Steiner from Argentina. Steiner was umpire during the men’s finals at Wimbledon. According to an ATP spokesperson, Steiner granted many interviews which the ATP didn’t permit. Steiner had many interactions with the media in Argentina, and the ATP didn’t allow him to discuss any of the events which occurred during the match. They considered this improper conduct as enough reason to relieve him from his position with immediate effect.