Thursday, April 25, 2024

Racism case against Italy’s Francesco Acerbi dismissed due to lack of evidence

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Mar 2024

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Italy defender Francesco Acerbi will face no further action over allegations of racism against Napoli’s Juan Jesus, whose claims have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

The Inter Milan player 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.

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.

Had he been found guilty, Acerbi faced potentially serious sanctions that could have included a lengthy ban and thrown his hopes of featuring in this summer’s European Championships into doubt. Instead, he 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.”

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