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Controversy erupted after Juventus’ 1-1 draw with rivals Torino in Serie A on Saturday as defender Mehdi Benatia was racially insulted during his post-match interview with Rai.
Per MailOnline’s James Dutton, the comments came through Benatia’s earpiece but were not broadcast. Rai have apologised but claim the comments were not made by an employee. The Mirror reports Benatia was called a “s–tty Moroccan.”
Per the report, Benatia heard the comments and immediately responded, saying, ”Who said that in the background? I heard someone talking in the background. Who said that? I heard an insult.”
The interviewer clarified she too had heard something and immediately ended the interview, citing ”technical difficulties.”
Rai have since made a public apology:
Rai is sincerely sorry for the deplorable incident of racism that involved the Juventus player Benatia during our Calcio Champagne program and that fortunately was not heard by the viewers, as it did not go on air.
Rai has put into motion all attempts to identify who was responsible for what happened and at the moment technical analysis excludes that the unacceptable phrases were uttered by a dependent of our company.
The incident comes at a particularly bad time for Rai as Italian football is already dealing with a major racism row. Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari was given a ban―since overturned―for protesting racist taunts during the match against Cagliari. The former Inter Milan man made a statement by leaving the pitch after he was booked for addressing the taunts with the official.