Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has received a two-game Coppa Italia ban for his homophobic comments made towards Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini during Tuesday's San Paolo clash.
Italian football writer Adam Digby confirmed the decision of the Italian football association on Thursday:
Italian FA (FIGC) officially announces two game ban only in the Italian Cup & a €20,000 fine for Maurizio Sarri for his homophobic comments— Adam Digby (@Adz77) January 21, 2016
The two managers faced off on the touchline during the quarter-final match—which Inter won 2-0—and Mancini accused his counterpart of hurling various slurs at him.
Mancini made the accusations during an interview with Italian broadcaster Rai TV (via Marcus Christenson of the Guardian—warning: link contains strong language):
The confrontation on the touchline? You have to ask Sarri about that, he is a racist. People like him does not belong in football. He used racist words. I stood up to ask about the five minutes being added on and Sarri shouted 'p--f' and 'f----t' at me. I would be proud to be that if he is what's considered a man.
People like him should not be in football. He is 60 years old. The fourth official heard but didn't say anything. He came to see me in the changing room to apologise but he should really be ashamed of himself.
Sarri neither confirmed nor denied the allegations at the time, per Rai Sport (via Digby):
Sarri "My insults were homophobic? I don't know, I can't remember. These things happen on the pitch & have to stay there" (@RaiSportweb)— Adam Digby (@Adz77) January 19, 2016
Sarri: "If I used these words, then I apologise to all homosexuals" (@RaiSportweb)— Adam Digby (@Adz77) January 19, 2016
Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina came to his manager's defense.
"I don't know precisely what the coach said, but when you are annoyed you say many things," Reina said to Rai Sport (via Football Italia). "If he was wrong, he'll be the first to admit that. Obviously these are things that should remain on the pitch. Many times people say things they don't really believe."
It's no secret world football has a history with acts of racism and homophobia, particularly by supporters inside the stadium. The sport's governing bodies can't possibly eradicate what are societal issues, but in this case, they have decided Sarri deserves punishment.
Chalking up the transgression to a heat-of-the-moment mistake isn't an excuse, and standing on the touchline of a football pitch doesn't give a manager carte blanche to use offensive words or phrases.