LGBT organisations call for exemplary sanction after homophobic incident at Coppa Italia match20 January 2016

LGBTorganisationsinItalyhavereactedtothehomophobicabuseof RobertoManciniby hisNapolicounterpartMaurizioSarriandcalledforanexemplarysanctionfromsportauthorities.

Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini accused Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri of using homophobic language towards him during a touchline disagreement at the Coppa Italia match on Tuesday 19 January.

Mancini claims Sarri shouted “poof” and “faggot” and called the Napoli coach “a racist” without elaborating on the claim.

Naples-based LGBT organisation ArciGay promptly invited the Napoli coach to join the group’s Saturday march and take a stand against homophobia by supporting same-sex unions in Italy.

Arcigay Antonello Sannino said: “I hope this incident is used as a turning point in Italian football. What happened between Sarri and Mancini is recurrent in football and cannot be tolerated. Sanctions and bans are common when it comes to racism but no action is taken when the issue is homophobia.”

After the Coppa Italia tie, Sarri, 57, claimed not to remember the exact words he had used towards Mancini.

“These are things that should end on the field,

“I apologised to him, but I expect him to apologise, too. A fight on the pitch should end after 10 seconds.

“I was fired up and angry, so I’m not sure what I said. I will admit it wasn’t the right tone to take.

“I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri stressed.

In response to Sarri’s post-match comments Arcigay said: “We appreciate Mancini’s courage, these things do not end up on the field, they must be reported.”

The Inter Milan coach told the media he went to find Sarri in the locker room where he apologised, but made the matter public because he wanted him to be ashamed of what was said.

Along with Gay Center, the two organisations are calling on the Italian International Olympic Committee and Football Association (FIGC) to take the incident seriously and to adopt preventive measures.

“As a Napoli fan I am ashamed of Sarri’s words so we can for an exemplary sanction. We also call for a meeting with Aurelio De Laurentiis and Tavecchio to discuss a nation-wide anti-homophobia campaign in sport.” said Fabrizio Marrazzo of Gay Center.

Media reports suggest Sarri could face a two to four-months suspension.