According to Football Italia via newspaper La Stampa, the Italian Football Federation (FA equivalent), FIGC, have opened an investigation into the fight between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku.
Football Italia report that an investigation is underway to see if further action is warranted as a result of the incident, with video footage and the referee’s report to be studied.
Both received a one-match ban applying only to the Coppa Italian, Lukaku for two yellow cards in the competition and Ibrahimovic for his sending off in Tuesday night’s derby between Inter and AC Milan.
La Stampa have reportedly found that Ibrahimovic faces a ban of up to 10 matches should he be found guilty of racial abuse.
The pair were in a heated encounter after Lukaku was left angered by a challenge from Milan skipper Alessio Romagnoli in the 43rd minute of the tie.
Those are the two terms that have sparked talk of potential racial abuse, something that Ibrahimovic vehemently denied in the dressing room after the match.
A player that was alongside both at Manchester United and is also a close friend to each in Paul Pogba denied that Ibrahimovic was a racist earlier this week:
Zlatan… racist? ? He loves me too much so he’s the last person I’d think of as racist! Come on, don’t joke with that one! ?
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) January 27, 2021
As reported by Sky Sports Italy earlier this week, Ibrahimovic’s ‘voodoo’ outburst was a reference to a specific story surrounding Lukaku in the past.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri claimed the striker decided against a new contract and instead sought a move to Chelsea (ultimately joined Manchester United) as a result of voodoo.
Football Italia add that the use of ‘little donkey’ by Ibrahimovic to Lukaku was also not racially motivated, instead a jibe by the Swede to mock the Belgian for being a player of low technical skill.
‘Donkey’ has long been a widely used term in British football, but it’s certainly understandable that some may believe it carries racist undertones.
If there was any racism, Lukaku did not appear to notice it at the time, the Belgian was infuriated by Zlatan’s reference to his mother as part of the ‘voodoo’ comment, a crossed line that led the former Everton man to seek out a fight with Ibrahimovic.
Finally, it’s added that Italian football’s governing body are unlikely to punish Ibrahimovic for these terms, rather an extra one-match ban for both players is likely to be the harshest punishment – if any.