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Dhaka Tribune

Inter's Acerbi leaves Italy camp after racist abuse claims

A guilty verdict would end Acerbi's season with Inter, with the possibility of any ban being extended worldwide with the Euro starting on June 14

Update : 19 Mar 2024, 12:37 AM

Francesco Acerbi Monday left Italy's training camp ahead of two friendlies in the United States after reports he will be investigated for alleged racial abuse of Napoli defender Juan Jesus.

In a statement Italy's Football Federation (FIGC) said Inter Milan defender Acerbi had given "his version of events" to his Azzurri teammates and coach Luciano Spalletti "on the alleged racist remark".

The FIGC continued that Acerbi said he "had no intention of being defamatory, denigratory or racist" but that he would be dropped from the 28-man squad called up to play Venezuela and Ecuador in the build-up to Italy's European title defence.

Roma's central defender Gianluca Mancini replaces Acerbi, who is set to be questioned by the FIGC's disciplinary authorities following Jesus' claim he used a racist insult during Inter's 1-1 draw with Napoli Sunday night.

Brazilian Jesus was seen protesting to referee Federico La Penna, pointing to the Keep Racism Out badge on his shirt and apparently saying "(Acerbi) called me a negro".

After the match Jesus, who scored Napoli's late equalizer, played down the incident by saying Acerbi had "crossed a line" while not explaining how his fellow center-back had insulted him and adding that the two had cleared the air.

"He apologized because he realized that he had gone too far...what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch," Jesus said to DAZN.

Monday, Jesus again alluded to the incident on Instagram, saying: "I defended my team and my rights in the way I thought was right."

Acerbi's agent Federico Pastorello then denied that his client racially abused Jesus in an interview with broadcaster Radio Sportiva.

"From what Acerbi tells me there was a disagreement on the field but he didn't say anything racist," Pastorello said Monday afternoon.

"Just to be clear, the word 'negro' was not used."

Serie A told Agence France Presse that the regular report from the division's "sporting judge" Gerardo Mastrandrea will be released Tuesday.

That document, which is usually published the day after the end of each round of matches, should confirm whether Acerbi will be investigated for the incident.

Acerbi risks being banned for at least 10 matches if found guilty of racially abusing Jesus, and authorities can ask for an even longer ban if they see fit.

A guilty verdict would end his club season with Inter who are set to win their 20th league title, with the possibility of any ban being extended worldwide with the Euro starting on June 14.

In a brief statement Inter said they "will meet with the player as soon as possible to shed light on the exact details of what happened".

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