Francesco Acerbi acquitted of racism charges due to lack of evidence

In the ruling. the sports judge explained that he had failed to reach the level of "reasonable certainty" required in cases of this type.

FC Internazionale v SSC Napoli - Serie A TIM
FC Internazionale v SSC Napoli - Serie A TIM / Pier Marco Tacca/GettyImages

The controversial issue began during the big match, held at the San Siro Stadium, between FC Internazionale v. SSC Napoli of matchday 29 of Serie A. At a certain moment of the match, the Brazilian defender Juan Jesus approached the referee and complained about some words addressed to him by Francesco Acerbi.

The referee, Federico La Penna, then called the Italian defender back to him for clarification on the matter.

At the end of the match, Juan Jesus said in a post-match interview that Acerbi had gone too far with his words but that he had nevertheless apologized to him shortly afterwards and that therefore, the issue could be considered closed.

However, in the following days, Acerbi, pressed by journalists, continued to maintain that he had not addressed any racist insult to his colleague, indeed asserting that Juan Jesus had misunderstood his expression: "I'll make you black".

These statements generated a prompt reaction from Juan Jesus who intervened again on his social profiles to clarify what the racist phrase directed at him was: "Acerbi told me 'go away black, you're just a n***o."

The FIGC (Italian football federation) prosecutor's office opened an investigation the day after the match.

So after just over a week, the long-awaited decision of the sports judge was reached after both players had been heard and after having found, as far as possible, the audiovisual material of the match.

In the sentence issued on Tuesday, March 26, the sports judge acquitted the FC Internazionale defender Francesco Acerbi for the alleged racist insult uttered against Napoli's Brazilian Juan Jesus.

The operative part of the sentence states that the sports judge, on the basis of the preliminary investigation material acquired, was not able to reach the level of "reasonable certainty" required in cases of this type.

In short, we can probably believe that Acerbi addressed some type of insult to Juan Jesus but that the judging body did not have sufficient material at its disposal to establish with certainty that it was a racist or discriminatory insult.

The Italian Sports Justice Code dictates in article 28 what it means by ''discriminatory behavior'' and also indicates the sanctioning consequences.

The aforementioned article 28 defines discriminatory behavior as "any conduct which, directly or indirectly, involves offence, denigration or insult for reasons of race, color, religion, language, sex, nationality, origin, including ethnic origin, personal or social condition or constitutes prohibited ideological propaganda. by law or in any case encouraging discriminatory behavior."

Serie A. Juan Jesus gives Napoli the equalizer in the away match against Inter Milan. dark. Next

Then, according to the code, whoever is responsible must be punished with at least 10 days of disqualification as well as, for professional footballers, a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 euros.