Napoli's Jesus alleges racism by Italy's Acerbi in Serie A clash

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Napoli's player Jesus accuses Italy defender Acerbi of racist abuse during Serie A match

Napoli's Jesus alleges racism by Italy's Acerbi in Serie A clash

Jesus had initially played down the incident following Napoli's 1-1 draw at Inter Milan 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 equalizer 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 saying that "(Acerbi) called me a negro".

Acerbi left Italy's training camp after reports that he would be investigated for the alleged abuse. Roma center-back Gianluca Mancini replaced him in the 28-man squad selected before matches against Venezuela and Ecuador in the build-up to Italy's European title defense.

He insisted on his return to Milan that he "didn't say anything racist," echoing what his agent Federico Pastorello had said to broadcaster Radio Sportiva earlier on Monday.

That sparked an angry reaction from Jesus on Instagram: "I thought the incident was over 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 said on the pitch, 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."

Jesus' reaction is terrible news for Acerbi as Italian Football Federation (FIGC) regulations say that if he is found guilty of racially abusing the Brazilian, he will be banned for at least 10 matches.

Authorities can request an extended ban if they feel his behavior warrants it.

A guilty verdict would be guaranteed to end his club season with Inter, who are set to win their 20th league title as they lead AC Milan by 14 points with nine fixtures remaining.

Discipline authorities will likely insist that any eventual ban be extended worldwide, with the Euro starting on June 14.

Serie A told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Gerardo Mastrandrea, the division's "sporting judge," will release his regular report on Tuesday.

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

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

Source: AFP

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