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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri insists he’s not homophobic despite calling opposing boss ‘faggot’

Josh Jackman July 18, 2018
Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri, speaks during his unveiling press conference at Stamford Bridge in west London on July 18, 2018. - New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has spoken of his excitement at facing many of the world's leading managers now that he in charge of a Premier League side. The Italian's arrival at Stamford Bridge, where he replaces compatriot Antonio Conte, sees him join a multi-national cast of managers in English football's top-flight, with Spain's Pep Guardiola in charge of champions Manchester City, Argentina's Mauricio Pochettino the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Portugal's Jose Mourinho at the helm of Manchester United and Germany's Jurgen Klopp in control at Liverpool. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sarri made the comments in 2016 (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty)

Chelsea’s new manager has apologised for an anti-gay slur he used during a match and insisted he is “not homophobic.”

At his first Chelsea press conference today (July 18), Maurizio Sarri was asked an incident during his time as Napoli boss, when he abused then-Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini by allegedly calling him a “faggot.”

Last month, former Napoli player Diego Maradona – widely considered to be the best footballer in history – faced criticism after yelling anti-gay insult “puto” on live TV during the World Cup.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Chelsea Unveil New Head Coach Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge on July 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Sarri was banned for two games and fined €20,000 following the incident (Marc Atkins/Getty)

Sarri was banned for two games and fined €20,000 following the clash in 2016 – which also saw him use “racist words,” according to Mancini – and apologised for the remarks today.

The 59-year-old Italian boss said that “people make mistakes,” adding that he was “angry” when he abused Mancini.

“I think those who know me very well cannot define me in this way,” added Sarri. “I am not homophobic, not sexist, certainly not.

Sarri said: “I am an extremely open person” (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty)

“I am an extremely open person, and I do not have these kind of problems.

“I hope I can show this when I work here, and when I am living here,” he continued.

“These mistakes were made, yes. But when someone makes a mistake, they must apologise, and accept that some allegations could be made by the press.

“A professional, ethical attitude is very important, more than apologies. I hope you have the chance to know me better. I hope you will forget about this very quickly.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Chelsea Unveil New Head Coach Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge on July 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
“I hope you will forget about this very quickly” (Marc Atkins/Getty)

Football fans will turn their eyes back to the Premier League following a World Cup in which countries with more progressive approaches to LGBT equality went further in the tournament.

The competition in Russia was still dogged by problems, however, with the Argentine Football Association fined £80,000 for homophobic chanting and violence.

Supporters at Argentina’s 3-0 loss to eventual finalists Croatia on June 21 were found to have involved themselves “in fights, throwing objects and homophobic and insulting chants.”

And the Mexican Football Federation was fined around £7,600 by FIFA for homophobic chanting after a World Cup qualification campaign in which it was fined 11 times.

NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA - JUNE 21: Lionel Messi and team mate Sergio Aguero of Argentina show their dejection during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhniy Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Argentina stars Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero react in disappointment (Clive Brunskill/Getty)

FIFA also issued a fine to Argentina for homophobic chants by fans at 2018 World Cup qualification matches.

A gay football fan was also hospitalised in Russia with brain injuries after a vicious attack ahead of the World Cup.

There were few other reports of anti-gay violence during the tournament, but LGBT people in Russia voiced fears that the relaxed policing towards the community would end after the competition, which finished on July 15.

Hate crimes against LGBT people have doubled since Russia created the 2013 legislation, which prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” towards minors.

More: Chelsea, football, homophobic, inter milan, Maurizio Sarri, Napoli, premier league, sport, UK

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