Francesco Acerbi leaves Italy training camp after racial abuse claims

Rome: Francesco Acerbi left Italy’s training camp ahead of two friendly matches in the United States amid reports of an investigation into alleged racial abuse directed at Napoli’s defender, Juan Jesus.

In a statement issued by Italy’s Football Federation (FIGC), it was stated that Inter Milan’s Acerbi had provided his account of the incident to his Azzurri teammates and coach Luciano Spalletti regarding the alleged racist remark.

Acerbi reportedly expressed that he had no intention of making defamatory, denigratory, or racist remarks.

However, he accepted exclusion from the 28-man squad summoned for the matches against Venezuela and Ecuador as Italy prepares for the European title defense.

Gianluca Mancini from Roma replaces Acerbi in the squad. Acerbi is expected to face questioning from the FIGC’s disciplinary authorities following Jesus’ accusation of racial insult during Inter’s recent match against Napoli.

Jesus, the Brazilian defender, protested to the referee during the match, indicating Acerbi’s alleged racial insult and referring to the “Keep Racism Out” badge on his shirt.

Post-match, Jesus downplayed the incident, mentioning that Acerbi had apologised, acknowledging he had “crossed a line.” Jesus stated that they had resolved the matter between them, asserting, “What happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.”
The Serie A confirmed that the report from the “sporting judge,” Gerardo Mastrandrea, will be released on Tuesday, which will determine whether Acerbi will be investigated for the incident.

If found guilty, Acerbi could face a ban of at least 10 matches, potentially impacting both his club season with Inter, who are vying for their 20th league title, and his participation in the upcoming Euro, scheduled to begin on June 14.