Former referee Pierluigi Collina has been given police protection after receiving threatening letters.
According to media reports, authorities in Tuscany had decided to issue Collina, well recognised internationally for his bald pate and piercing stare, with an escort after he was sent credible football-related threats to his home.
Collina is now a referees designator at the Italian Referees Association (AIA) - selecting the officials for Serie A and Serie B matches this season.
The 47-year old was almost universally acknowledged as one of the world’s best referees before his retirement in 2005.
He was World Referee of the Year six years running between 1998 and 2003 and took charge of the FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Germany in 2002.