World Media

Rai apologises after Benatia hears insult during interview

Rai apologises after Benatia hears insult during interview

"Rai is sincerely saddened by the deplorable episode of racism involving the Juventus player during the broadcast of Champagne Football", said the broadcaster on Sunday, adding that the insult was not heard by the viewers.

"Rai has set in motion all the necessary checks to identify the person in charge of what and when the educated technical insights that lead to exclude utter the unacceptable phrases may have been an employee of the company".

Last week, Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari walked off the pitch during a game at Cagliari after he was booked for complaining to the referee at racist insults coming from the crowd. Benatia then asked: "Who is talking in the background?"

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Benatia left the interview just as the camera cut back to the studio, where one presenter on the Calcio Champagne programme claimed that they halted the feed due to "technical difficulties" before insisting that the abuse did not come from the stuido.

Benatia, who is on loan with the Italian side from Germany league champions Bayern Munich, was speaking to broadcasters in the studio when he suddenly stopped mid-sentence. "Know that two other people heard the same thing as I did". This awful thing that happened is tragic, but the worst thing is that they are not recognising their mistake.

He thanked Juventus for "doing all they can to protect me" and fans who had sent him messages of support. "I am Moroccan and I am extremely proud of it".

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Juventus also released a statement expressing its concern and saying suggestions "the alleged "interference" came from the production service Juventus provided Raisport" were "factually unbelievable and technically implausible".

"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". That resulted in a second booking and a red card.

Before the ban was overturned, former Tottenham striker Garth Crooks called on players in Italy to strike in protest against Muntari's punishment.

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