One of two Italian football coaches embroiled in a controversy over homophobia accusations, has said he has never used anti-gay language as it is not in his vocabulary.
Roberto Mancini made the accusation against his Napoli counterpart Maurizio Sarri. The pair had a row on the sidelines during the final moments of their teams’ Coppa Italia tie.
Mancini was sent off after becoming involved in the stoppage time row with Sarri.
Sarri was cleared of the homophobia and racism allegations after a disciplinary hearing, but has been banned for two matches for the incident.
Now Mancini has been accused of using homophobic language against a journalist in 2001, by newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
“What I said after the game in Naples is simply in line with my history and my footballing culture,” Mancini wrote in response to the accusations.
“I don’t ask people to share my way of being in football, but I demand respect. At the moment they’re creating a polemic and creating factions which shift attention away from the real problem!
“This story has been subject to a lot of manipulations, not least that I used that same insult toward a journalist, which is not true.
“I’ve never used that term because it’s not part of my vocabulary.
“I reiterate my disappointment, but I’d like to get back to concentrating on our sporting goals now, and the next game [against Carpi] which is crucial for Inter’s season.”
S.S.C. Napoli yesterday urged Mancini to accept Sarri’s apology, and defended the coach.