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Inter defender Acerbi facing federation probe over alleged racist comments

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation into racist insults allegedly made by Inter defender Francesco Acerbi. 

“After examining the referee’s report, the sports judge considers it necessary for the federation’s public prosecutor to investigate what happened between Napoli’s Juan Jesus and Inter Milan’s Francesco Acerbi in relation to any expressions of racial discrimination made by the latter,” said the FIGC in a statement. 

Jesus had initially played down the incident following Napoli’s 1-1 draw at Inter Milan on Sunday, telling DAZN “what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch” after accepting Acerbi’s on-field apology for unspecified insults. 

Brazilian Jesus, who headed home Napoli’s late equaliser at the San Siro, had been seen protesting to match referee Federico La Penna, pointing to the Keep Racism Out badge on his shirt and apparently saying that “(Acerbi) called me a negro”.

The incident lead to Acerbi leaving Italy’s training camp on Monday. 

He was replaced by Roma centre-back Gianluca Mancini in the 28-man squad selected before matches against Venezuela and Ecuador in the build-up to Italy’s European title defence.

The Italian FA said that Acerbi had explained that he had “no intention of being defamatory, denigrating or racist”. 

On his return to Milan, Acerbi, 36, assured journalists that he had said “nothing racist”. 

That sparked an angry reaction from Jesus on Instagram: “I thought that the incident was done with on the pitch and frankly I was hoping not to have to come back to something so despicable.”

“However today I read Acerbi’s comments which conflict completely with what happened, with what he himself said on the pitch which is backed up by video footage of him asking me for forgiveness,” Jesus added.

“I’m not having it, racism is going to be fought here and now. Acerbi said to me ‘get lost black, you’re just a negro’… now he’s changed tack and claims that there was no racism.”

Acerbi faces a possible 10-match suspension which would end his season with Inter and could rule him out of the Euros which start on June 14. 

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