Ibrahimovic faces sanctions over anti-France outburst


PARIS: Calls mounted Monday for action against Paris Saint-Germain’s temperamental star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic over comments he made about his host country which one French minister called “insulting”.

The French league will study the Swedish player’s latest outburst at a meeting on Thursday and could take sanctions. Even though Ibrahimovic has already apologised for his outburst, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said he should leave France.

Ibrahimovic, who was controversially sent off in the Champions League game against Chelsea last week, had scored twice to level a key league game against Bordeaux on Sunday which Paris lost 3-2 to drop back in the title race.

Furious at decisions made against Paris, Ibrahimovic stormed off the pitch and said in front of television cameras: “In 15 years, I have never seen such a referee. In this shit country, this country does not deserve PSG. We are too good for this country.”

The 33-year-old Swedish international backed down after France’s Sports Minister Patrick Kanner called the remarks “insulting”.

“I would like to apologise if anyone felt offended. I want to make it clear that my remarks were not directed at France or the French. I was talking about football, I lost the match and I accept that but I don’t accept when the referee does not follow the rules.

“I expressed myself when I was upset and everyone knows that in these moments, the words surpass the meaning.” Ibrahimovic said in a statement.

But the apology did not calm the controversy.

Sports Minister Kanner welcomed the apology but said “if a personality as important as Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes such comments, we should not be surprised that there are such difficulties in stadiums.” (AFP)