French league to discuss Ibrahimovic’s latest outburst
PARIS (AP) — The French League’s disciplinary commission will meet later this week to discuss Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s possible ban following his criticism of a match referee that caused an outcry in France.
The PSG striker could be suspended for misconduct after losing his temper following the club’s 3-2 loss at Bordeaux in the French league on Sunday.
Ibrahimovic vented his anger on television at decisions which went against his side, saying in English he has “played 15 years, never seen a referee” like Lionel Jaffredo. He then used an expletive to describe France as he walked past reporters after the game.
The Swedish forward later said he was sorry after the French sports minister asked him to apologize for the comments, which were caught on camera.
The French league said it has received the referee’s game report and will meet on Thursday.
In a video relayed by PSG later Monday, Ibrahimovic reiterated his apologies but asked the media not to “twist” his comments after National Front leader Marine Le Pen suggested the Sweden international should leave the country if he was not happy in France and asked for disciplinary sanctions.
“When I said it, I was angry in that moment,” said Ibrahimovic. “I think the French people are intelligent enough to understand the situation. It’s about football, let’s focus on the football.”
Ibrahimovic scored twice in Sunday’s match but could not prevent his team from slumping to its third league defeat this season.
Ibrahimovic, who recently returned from a two-match ban following an altercation with a Saint-Etienne player and a third yellow card in 10 matches, has never been shy of controversy.
After he was sent off for a late challenge on Oscar in the first half of PSG’s match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in the Champions League, Ibrahimovic described the Chelsea players as a bunch of “babies.”
Ibrahimovic’s comments, coupled with PSG defender Serge Aurier’s insults toward the referee who sent off Ibrahimovic at Chelsea, also prompted a reaction from French referees union SAFE.
“We thought we had seen a peak in media outcry after Chelsea-PSG. We thought we had heard everything. But no,” wrote SAFE president Stephane Lannoy in an open letter. “Sunday night, for a back pass, we had a new outburst of hatred and verbal abuse. It is time to realize we cannot say anything, do anything and accept anything. It is high time that finally, in football, everyone recognizes the status of the referee and accepts and respects it.”