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Tue 12 Feb 2008 02:41 AM

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Inter being favoured, claims Totti

Referees are subconsciously giving the league leaders a 'helping hand' says Roma captain.

Roma captain and talisman Francesco Totti claimed on Monday that league leaders Inter Milan are consistently benefiting from some dubious refereeing decisions.

Inter Milan won 2-0 at Catania on Sunday but television replays later showed that their first goal should have been disallowed for offside.

That follows on the heels of two highly controversial penalty decisions going in their favour in January.

"I don't want to attack Inter because I don't think the club has anything to do with it and because they have good players who are winning on the pitch," said Totti in an interview with Sky Italia.

"But there's definitely something going on. Something in the sense that they're having a little helping hand.

"I think there's a little bit of psychological pressure on everyone because they're afraid of Inter at the moment.

"If the referees had the courage and loyalty to say what they see, it would be easier (for us). But they're denying the facts".

Totti seems to be suggesting that referees are subconsciously helping Inter rather than blatantly cheating in favour of the champions, particularly against smaller teams.

It is an accusation that has long been levelled against successful, winning teams.

"Unfortunately it's always existed, it's a part of football. Before it was Juve and now it's Inter," added Totti.

Two seasons ago Juventus were demoted to Serie B and stripped of their previous two league titles for their part in a match-fixing scandal that also saw points deductions handed out to AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina.

"I don't think Inter would have done what Juve did. Inter are winning on the pitch," added the Roma captain.

"And referees can make mistakes because it's not easy to manage a game for 90 minutes and not make a single mistake".

Inter are currently eight points clear of Roma having won 17 and drawn five of their 22 league matches this season. Last season they romped to the title by 22 points from second-placed Roma.

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