Mancini condemns 'racist' Sarri who called him a 'poof'

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri says that everything was said on the spur of the moment. He says he has nothing against homosexuals.
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri says that everything was said on the spur of the moment. He says he has nothing against homosexuals.

ROME • Furious Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini accused his Napoli counterpart Maurizio Sarri of being a "racist" and claimed his rival called him a "poof" following a fiery finish to Inter's 2-0 Italian Cup victory on Tuesday.

The pair clashed on the touchline after Adem Ljajic killed off the quarter-final tie at the San Paolo stadium in stoppage time by adding to Stevan Jovetic's opener.

Minutes earlier, Napoli had forward Dries Mertens sent off late in the game for diving.

"Maurizio Sarri is a racist and men like him have no place in football," fumed Mancini to RAI TV after the game.

"He used racist words. He started insulting me and then shouted at me, calling me a poof."

He claimed Sarri had used the words "frocio" and "finocchio", both pejorative terms meaning homosexual.

The former Manchester City manager added: "But if he's a man then I'd be proud to be a poof. From someone like him, who's 60, I can't accept that, he should be ashamed.

"You have the right to argue, but not like that. I went to see him in the changing rooms and he apologised. But I told him that in England, he wouldn't be allowed to set foot on a pitch again."

Sarri brushed off the exchange as part and parcel of the game.

"I've seen and heard worse on a pitch," he said.

"I hope that in the cold light of day, Mancini will also change his point of view.

"In my words, there was no form of discrimination, I have nothing against homosexuals.

"The adrenaline of the pitch can push you to make bad jokes, but the arguments should finish at the end of the 90 minutes.

"I've apologised to Mancini, for me everything's OK."

During the match, Inter had brushed off their poor league form to storm into the Cup semi-finals.

Two defeats and just four points from their last four league matches had seen Inter lose command of Serie A and drop to third, four points behind first-placed Napoli.

But now they will face the winner of yesterday's quarter-final between Lazio and champions Juventus for a place in the final.

Inter's city rivals AC Milan will play third-tier Alessandria in the last four.

Tuesday's match was a tight affair, in part due to Sarri leaving Gonzalo Higuain on the bench. Despite 20 goals in 20 games this season, the Argentinian did not enter the fray until the 72nd minute.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Mancini condemns 'racist' Sarri who called him a 'poof''. Print Edition | Subscribe