Italian referee Mauro Bergonzi was sent into hiding by police after thugs tried to attack someone he looked like, the head of the country's referees' association has said.
Bergonzi awarded two contentious penalties in Napoli's 3-1 win over Juventus in October.
"A dangerous incident happened. A group of people encircled someone they thought was a referee, they tried to abduct him and continually punch him. The only thing was he just looked like the referee," Cesare Gussoni told Friday's La Repubblica newspaper.
"He was a bank manager, poor thing, and he managed to reveal this at the end to save himself from more blows. On the advice of the police, the referee was forced to live under protection and went to another province for two weeks."
Former leading referee Pierluigi Collina, who now appoints officials for Italian games, has been sent bullets in the post and has been given a police escort as supporters' anger grows following a number of controversial decisions this season.