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FOOTBALL

Roma star says sorry for Mandzukic ‘gypsy’ slur

Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi has apologized after coming under fire for racially abusing Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic during a 1-0 defeat to the champions in Turin.

Roma star says sorry for Mandzukic 'gypsy' slur
AS Roma's Daniele De Rossi apologized for the slur against Mario Mandzukic. File photo: AFP

De Rossi was caught by television cameras mouthing “shut up, shitty gypsy” after the players clashed in what was a hot-tempered Serie A clash on Sunday.

Despite calls from organisations representing ethnic Roma people, De Rossi never faced the threat of a sanction because television evidence is not used retroactively in Italian football and the incident was not sanctioned or noted by the match referee.

The Italy international offered an apology on Tuesday – although not directly to Croatian international Mandzukic.

“I'm sorry to anyone who felt offended,” De Rossi said when asked to comment by a presenter from the 'Le Iene' television show.

“I was caught by television cameras saying something I shouldn't have. It's not the first time something like this has been said and it happens every so often on the pitch.

“Football can sometimes bring the worst out in players, although that's no justification. We'll try not to say things like this or, as the coach said, we'll cover our mouths.”

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti did not deny De Rossi's comments.

He instead claimed Mandzukic had insulted his players throughout the game and said De Rossi's only mistake was not to cover his mouth with his hand, a technique regularly used by players and coaches to conceal what they are saying.

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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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