Tuesday 12 December 2017

WATCH - Mehdi Benatia racially abused during live TV interview in Italy as mystery voice calls him a 's****y Moroccan'

Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was racially abused during a live TV interview in Italy. Getty
Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was racially abused during a live TV interview in Italy. Getty

Jack de Menezes

Just one week after the scandal surrounding Sulley Muntari shamed the entirety of Italian football, a second accusation of racism has left the sport facing serious questions in a country that does not seem to be doing anywhere near enough to rid the sport of racial abuse.

Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was speaking in a live interview with Italian broadcasters Rai when he overheard someone racially abusing him over the radio earpiece he was wearing.

Benatia, who is on loan with the Italian side from Germany league champions Bayern Munich, was speaking to broadcasters in the studio when he suddenly stopped mid-sentence.

The defender accused someone of saying in his earpiece: “What are you saying, s****y Moroccan?”

The racial slur, which was not broadcast to the public, caused Benatia to react angrily.

“Who said that in the background?” he said. “I heard someone talking in the background. Who said that? I heard an insult.”

The Moroccan international had been discussing the controversial red card that was given to Afriyie Acquah during Juventus’s 1-1 draw with rivals Turin when the voice was heard over the radio link.

Watch the interview below...

Benatia left the interview just as the camera cut back to the studio, where one presenter on the Calcio Champagne programme claimed that they halted the feed due to “technical difficulties” before insisting that the abuse did not come from the stuido.

Rai have not yet identified who was responsible for the racial abuse, but they have issued an apology to Benatia for the “deplorable incident of racism”.

“Rai is sincerely sorry for the deplorable incident of racism that involved the Juventus player Benatia during our Calcio Champagne program and that fortunately was not heard by the viewers, as it did not go on air,” a statement read.

The TV company went on to explain that they belief the guilty party is not someone who works for Rai, but they would continue to investigate how the racial remark came about being said to the 30-year-old defender.

“Rai has put into motion all attempts to identify who was responsible for what happened and at the moment technical analysis excludes that the unacceptable phrases were uttered by a dependent of our company,” it added.

“The investigation nevertheless continues but considering the gravity of what happened Rai meanwhile offers our complete and total solidarity to the player and his club.”

The incident comes just a week after Pescara midfielder Muntari had a one-match ban overturned, having been booked for dissent after complaining of racial abuse to a referee during the club’s Serie A encounter with Cagliari.

Serie A’s disciplinary board initially rejected to rescind Muntari’s booking because the abuse came from “10 people”, which proved less than 10 per cent of the total attendance at the match. Muntari appealed the ban – which stemmed from an accumulation of five yellow cards this season – and a decision was made on Friday to overturn it, resulting in the former Inter Milan and Portsmouth midfielder being eligible to play in Sunday’s Serie A encounter with Crotone, where he was left as an unused substitute.

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