Football: Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia in live TV racism storm

Juventus defender Medhi Benatia (left) vying for the ball with Torino forward Andrea Belotti during their match on May 6, 2017.
Juventus defender Medhi Benatia (left) vying for the ball with Torino forward Andrea Belotti during their match on May 6, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Milan (AFP) - Italian football has been hit by a second racist storm inside a week after Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was insulted live on air during a post-match television interview with Italian state broadcaster Rai.

Benatia, a Morocco international, was being interviewed following a 1-1 Serie A draw at home with city rivals Torino when it was cut embarrassingly short by what seemed like a studio technician's gaffe.

As he was speaking to studio presenters about Juventus, Benatia heard a voice over his radio earpiece say: "What are you saying, shitty Moroccan?"

The 30-year-old, who had been answering a question about Juventus winning their sixth consecutive Serie A title, stopped mid-sentence and said: "Who said that? What stupid person is speaking?"

Presenters also heard the remark, but tried to brush it off, telling Benatia: "It seems there are some technical problems. No one here has been heard making any insults."

A visibly angry Benatia wiped his brow as presenters thanked him for his time before bringing the interview to an abrupt end.

It is thought the remark came from a careless studio technician who had left a microphone on, but it put racism firmly back in the spotlight a week after the controversy surrounding Ghana's Sulley Muntari.

Pescara midfielder Muntari said on Saturday he felt "treated like a criminal" after being sanctioned for walking off the pitch during a 1-0 loss at Cagliari last week where he fell victim to racial abuse.

He was booked by the referee for complaining about the abuse and then shown a red card for walking off the pitch in the final minutes.

After he personally appealed to league bosses, his ban was rescinded on Saturday when he said: "I was being treated like a criminal. How could I be punished when I was the victim of racism?"