Monday April 15 2019
FIGC: 'Punish Bakayoko and Kessie'

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina called for Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie to be punished for the “disrespectful” waving of Francesco Acerbi’s jersey "like a scalp."

The controversy over the incident has been escalating ever since Milan’s 1-0 win over Lazio on Saturday evening.

Having exchanged some comments via social media in the build-up to the game, Acerbi exchanged jerseys with Bakayoko only to then see the midfielder and teammate Kessie hold it up to the Rossoneri ultras like a trophy.

“What happened at San Siro was disrespectful and, as undersecretary for sport Giorgetti noted, undignified,” Federation President Gravina told GR Parlamento radio.

“It must be punished, condemned and evaluated for violation of the ethical norms and principles of our sport. Acerbi is an extraordinary man. There was some sniping on social media, and as Gennaro Gattuso said, players ought to use that less and spend more time focusing on their training.

“By handing his shirt over to the Milan players and shaking their hands, he proved he wanted to close any controversy. Exhibiting the same shirt almost like a scalp in front of the crowd was an ugly reaction that we ought to prevent happening again.”

While it seems frankly unlikely Bakayoko and Kessie would be suspended for this, it nonetheless is probable they will be fined for unsporting behaviour.

That same match also saw some very strong comments from Lazio director Igli Tare, who implied Milan had preferential treatment from referees because they had complained about an incident that went against them in the previous game with Juventus.

“Every year, as we get closer to the end of the season and there is more at stake, the tension increases,” added Gravina.

“A couple of weeks ago, there was a meeting in Milan between directors, Coaches, captains and referees. Some issues were clarified and the situation calmed down a little, so I hope that there will be a more relaxed tone in statements from now on.

“It’s true that we must limit refereeing errors as much as possible, but I also invite directors to tone down their rhetoric and not further inflame tensions.

“There are a lot of complaints and some of them are founded, but quite a few more are unfounded.”

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