Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces ban over anti-France outburst

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a four match suspension over comments he made about his host country which one French minister called "insulting".
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his comments after PSG's loss to Bordeaux. Stephane Mahe / Reuters
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his comments after PSG's loss to Bordeaux. Stephane Mahe / Reuters

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a four-match suspension over comments he made about his host country, words one French minister called “insulting”.

The French league will study Ibrahimovic’s latest outburst at a meeting on Thursday and a source close to the dossier said he could face up to a four-match ban.

However, the punishment would not be imposed on Thursday as they would decide then whether or not to summon him to a hearing over the incident and that would be within three weeks, although PSG could demand that he be heard earlier.

Ibrahimovic apologised in a public-relations damage-limitation campaign, but right-wing National Front leader Marine Le Pen said he should leave France.

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, told Canal Plus he was shocked by Ibrahimovic’s remarks in which the Swede used crude language to describe France.

“I am shocked by the remarks in equal measure about the refereeing as about France,” Valls said. “I would urge him to behave in an exemplary manner all the time.”

The league imposed a two-match ban in February after Ibrahamovic kicked an opponent.

He was also sent off in the Uefa Champions League victory over Chelsea last week and will miss the two-leg quarter-final.

Ibrahimovic, who has a reputation for making outspoken comments, made the remarks after a 3-2 defeat by Bordeaux on Sunday in which he scored twice.

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

He also made an abusive comment about the referee but backed down after France’s sports minister, Patrick Kanner, called the remarks “insulting”.

Ibrahamovic said in a statement and in a video for the PSG website that his comments “were not directed at France or the French”.

“I was angry in the heat of the moment. If they thought my comments were against them or if they misinterpreted them, I apologise sincerely,” he said in the video.

“People have always welcomed me, I am happy, I respect people who respect me. Every day of my adventure at PSG is fantastic.

“Don’t twist things. Let’s talk about football, let’s not talk about anything but football because football is the most important thing for me.”

The apologies have not been entirely accepted.

Kanner welcomed the words of contrition 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.”

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Published: March 17, 2015 04:00 AM

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