Thursday 18 July 2019

Mauricio Sarri insists he is 'not homophobic and not sexist' after questions on past comments at Chelsea unveiling

Maurizio Sarri has signed a three-year deal at Stamford Bridge (Steve Paston/PA)
Maurizio Sarri has signed a three-year deal at Stamford Bridge (Steve Paston/PA)

Jack Pitt-Brooke

New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has apologised and admitted that he made a "mistake" using homophobic language towards Roberto Mancini during a pitch-side confrontation in January 2016.

Speaking at his unveiling at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, Sarri showed contrition for the incident which happened when he was Napoli manager and Mancini Inter manager. Mancini accused Sarri of calling him a "f****t", claimed that he used "racist words" and declared that "people like [Sarri] do not belong in football". Sarri was banned for two games and given a €20,000 fine.

Asked about the incident at his first Chelsea press conference on Wednesday, Sarri accepted that he had made a mistake, and said those comments did not represent who he is as a person. He also referred to rude comments he made to a female journalist – telling her to "go f*** herself" – as a joke that was "miscontrued".

"People make mistakes, and one of these mistakes was made when I was angry," Sarri said, referring to the incident with Mancini.

"Another was not even a mistake, it was a journalist with whom I shared jokes for three years, and it was misconstrued. But yes, these were mistakes, that is for sure. I think those who know me very well cannot define me in this way. I am not homophobic, not sexist, certainly not. I am an extremely open person, and I do not have these kind of problems."

Sarri hoped that his good character would become clear during his tenure as Chelsea manager. "I hope I can show this when I work here, and when I am living here," he said.

"These mistakes were made, yes. But when someone makes a mistake, they must apologise, and accept that some allegations could be made by the press. A professional, ethical attitude is very important, more than apologies. I hope you have the chance to know me better. I hope you will forget about this very quickly."

Independent News Service

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