The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have confirmed that they have opened an investigation into the clash between Inter’s Romelu Lukaku and AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the January derby.
The two players were embroiled in an incredibly heated confrontation in which Lukaku pleaded for a fight to settle his score, and the two players ultimately had to be separated as tensions continued to spill over.
Both players were given yellow cards for their role in the incident, but FIGC took to their official website to confirm that the incident was being reviewed to decide whether the punishment was severe enough.
“This morning, FIGC lawyer Giuseppe China opened an investigation into the verbal dispute between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku in the Coppa Italia quarter-final between Inter and AC Milan on January 26,” indicates a press release.
“As part of this investigation, China has decided to summon referee Paolo Valeri, who will, in the coming hours, be called upon to make his statement regarding the sanctions that were imposed on the two players during the match.”
One of the main areas of controversy is believed to have been the comments of Ibrahimovic, who appeared to be caught saying to Lukaku: “Go do your voodoo, little donkey.”
This gave rise to accusations of racism – something Ibrahimovic denied shortly after on social media – but the uncomfortable nature of his remarks forced the FIGC to continue the process.
The “voodoo” comments are believed to refer to a claim by Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, who said Lukaku turned down the option to stay with the Toffees in 2017 due to a voodoo message telling him to leave.
Ibrahimovic and Lukaku were hit with one-match bans, but not specifically because of this incident. The first received a second yellow card later in the match and was sent off, while the yellow Lukaku received was his second in the competition and earned him an automatic suspension.
This means Lukaku will miss the semi-final first leg against Juventus, while Ibrahimovic will miss Milan’s first game in Coppa Italia next season.
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