Napoli stunned by lack of sanctions against Francesco Acerbi over alleged racism

By Sports Desk March 26, 2024

Napoli say they find it “astonishing” that Italy defender Francesco Acerbi was not sanctioned over allegations of racism against their player Juan Jesus.

Inter Milan’s Acerbi was implicated by his opponent in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw earlier this month, with Jesus briefly pausing the match to report the matter to the referee.

But Acerbi will face no further action after defender Jesus’ claims were dismissed by a Serie A sports judge due to a lack of evidence.

In a statement, Napoli said: “The principle of the greatest likelihood of an event, which exists in sports justice and which appears clear from the dynamics of the incident and the apology offered on the pitch, simply vanishes in this judgement.

“We find it astonishing.

“If what happened on the pitch ‘is certainly compatible with the expression of offensive comments (…) by the Inter player, who does not deny that they were offensive and threatening,’ then why was Acerbi not sanctioned in any way?

“If, as the judgement itself reads, ‘there was certainly proof of an insult,’ why did the sports judge decide to take no action to punish the responsible party?

“We find that even more astonishing.

“Napoli will no longer take part in anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives run by football institutions that are merely symbolic, but we will continue to organise them ourselves, as we have always done, with renewed conviction and determination.”

Acerbi protested his innocence but agreed to withdraw from the national squad for this week’s games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with manager Luciano Spalletti.

Serie A sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea considered the case against Acerbi, speaking to both men, others present on the pitch and also consulting recordings of the incident, but found insufficient proof to support Jesus’ own testimony.

Acerbi, who faced potentially serious sanctions had he been found guilty, has been cleared to turn out again for Inter when their league schedule resumes on April 1.

Mastrandrea’s ruling concluded: “In this case the minimum level of reasonable certainty regarding the discriminatory content of the offence committed is not reached.

“Without calling into question the good faith of the Napoli player, it appears to have been perceived only by ‘offended’ footballer without the support of any external evidence, be it audio, video or even testimonial.

“Discriminatory conduct, due to its intrinsic severity and intolerability, especially when it refers to the person’s race, skin colour or religion, must be sanctioned with the utmost severity in accordance with the Code of Sports Justice and the rules international sporting events.

“But it is nevertheless necessary that the imposition of such burdensome sanctions is correspondingly assisted by a minimum amount of evidence, or at least by serious, precise and consistent evidence in order to achieve reasonable certainty.”

Related items

  • Yamal and Fermin named in Spain's provisional Euro 2024 squad Yamal and Fermin named in Spain's provisional Euro 2024 squad

    Lamine Yamal has been named in Spain's provisional squad for Euro 2024, while Barcelona team-mate Fermin Lopez is one of two uncapped players included by Luis de la Fuente.

    The 16-year-old headlines a relatively youthful 29-man party for La Roja, which must be cut to 26 by June 7 ahead of the tournament in Germany.

    Yamal became Spain's youngest ever player and scorer when, aged 16 years and 50 days old, he found the net on his debut against Georgia last September, and has been a standout player for Barca this season.

    He is joined in the squad by team-mates Pedri, Pau Cubarsi, Ferran Torres and Fermin, who is handed his first senior call-up by De la Fuente having also impressed during his maiden LaLiga campaign.

    The same can be said for Real Betis forward Ayoze Perez, who scored 11 goals for Los Verdiblancos this term, but Marco Asensio, Pedro Perro, Pau Torres and Kepa Arrizabalaga are notable absentees, with Gavi also missing out through injury.

    David Raya, Alex Grimaldo and Marc Cucurella are among several players still yet to reach double figures in caps to be included.

    Greater experience is provided by skipper Alvaro Morata, as well as the likes of Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Rodri and Jesus Navas, while Real Madrid striker Joselu also gets the nod following his Champions League semi-final heroics against Bayern Munich.

    Spain begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Croatia in Berlin on June 15, while La Roja will also face Italy and Albania in Group B.

  • Williamson signs new Arsenal deal Williamson signs new Arsenal deal

    Leah Williamson has put pen to paper on a new deal at Arsenal, extending her 19-year stay with the Gunners.

    The England defender, who was eight years old when she had her first trial at the club, has agreed fresh terms with the Women's Super League side.

    Williamson returned to action in February following a lengthy lay-off with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which forced her to miss the Lionesses' run to the 2023 Women's World Cup final.

    The 27-year-old, who skippered England to Euro 2022 glory, has made 232 appearances for Arsenal, winning the Women's Super League as well as the FA Cup and League Cup on two occasions.

    "Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again," she told the club's official website.

    "I'm very happy to be staying. This is a place where I can still continue to grow, develop and be challenged. As a group, we're all very focused on bringing more silverware to this club and I can't wait to get started again when the new season comes around."

    "Leah is an essential part of our team, so we're delighted she has signed a new contract with us," Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall added. "She brings us so much on and off the pitch - leadership, accountability and commitment.

    "Leah has a special bond with Arsenal, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work together to bring more success to this great club."

    Clare Wheatley, the club's director of women's football, said: "Leah's connection with Arsenal runs so deep. I can remember her as a girl in our academy many years ago, and I'm so proud of the determined, passionate woman she has become.

    "We're thrilled that Leah has signed a new deal here, and I know our supporters will join me in congratulating her today."

  • Hazard 'bit sad' with Chelsea decision to sack Pochettino Hazard 'bit sad' with Chelsea decision to sack Pochettino

    Eden Hazard "was a bit sad" to see Chelsea part company with head coach Mauricio Pochettino after just one season in charge.

    Pochettino left Chelsea by mutual consent last week after a trophyless campaign and a sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

    Chelsea great Hazard, who spent seven years at Stamford Bridge, believes the former Tottenham boss deserved more time.

    "I was a bit sad," he told talkSPORT. "I think he did a great job. I know people want Chelsea to be in the top four but it’s a season of transition. 

    "He's a great manager. I wish him good luck and let's see who is going to be there in the future."

    Chelsea are reported to have whittled their shortlist to four names - Thomas Frank, Kieran McKenna, Roberto De Zerbi and Enzo Maresca

    However, Hazard cheekily suggested that former Chelsea team-mate Cesc Fabregas could be an option for the Blues.

    Fabregas is working as an assistant manager with Italian side Como and helped guide them to Serie A promotion this season.

    Asked about possible contenders for the job, Hazard said: "I have my friend in Como. He can be the first manager."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.