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Italian TV station apologises following Juventus star's racial insult claims

Juventus have also released a statement.

Morocco international Mehdi Benatia.
Morocco international Mehdi Benatia.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

JUVENTUS AND THE Italian broadcaster in question have both released statements following a live post-match interview with defender Mehdi Benatia was cut short due to an alleged racial insult.

Benatia was speaking to Rai Sport’s Calcio Champagne programme after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Torino when he claims he was called a ‘s***** Moroccan’ through his earpiece.

The comment itself was not broadcast, but the player stopped mid-conversation.

“‘Who said that in the background? I heard someone talking in the background,” he said. “Who said that? I heard an insult.”

The Rai presenter then cut the interview short, saying that it “it wasn’t us who insulted you” and that they were going through “technical difficulties.”

The 30-year-old Morocco international, who is on loan from Bayern Munich, and Juventus have both received an apology from Rai.

The statement read: “Rai is sincerely sorry for the unfortunate incident of racism involving the Juventus player Benatia during the transmission of Calcio Champagne and fortunately it was not aired to viewers.

The club then issued a statement of their own hours later.

“Following the regrettable insult Medhi Benatia heard through his earpiece during Calcio Champagne, Juventus Football Club wishes to express its concern over the incident.

“While acknowledging the RAI statement expressing solidarity, everyone – and the player first and foremost – deserves an explanation about what occurred.

“A number of informal comments, including on social media, have suggested the alleged “interference” came from the production service Juventus provided Rai Sport at Juventus Stadium.

“That suggestion is factually unbelievable and technically implausible, given the audio line runs directly from RAI headquarters in Milan into the earpieces. On-site production does not have direct contact with the guest.

“Juventus hopes that Rai Sport’s internal investigation continues without them resorting to excuses which tend to play down what happened and distort the facts.”

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