AC Milan have released a full-club statement in response to the Serie A disciplinary tribunal’s decision to not take any action against Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie.
The Milan duo appeared to taunt Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi at the end of the Rossoneri’s 1-0 win against the capital club on Sunday after parading his shirt in front of the San Siro crowd.
The Acerbi shirt incident: Five key things to know…
- AC Milan beat Lazio 1-0 in a crucial Serie A match on Saturday.
- Prior to the match, Bakayoko and Acerbi exchanged a series of heated tweets.
- After the match the pair swapped shirts, but Bakayoko and Kessie appeared to parade his strip “like a scalp” in front of the Milan fans.
- The controversial celebration drew widespread criticism but Milan issued a statement saying it was not meant in an “aggressive or anti-sporting” manner.
- There have since been calls for Serie A’s disciplinary tribunal to punish the pair, but no action will be taken.
Scuffles broke out after the 90 minutes as the incident unfolded, and six players have since been hit with a fine of 10,000 euros (£8,637) for their involvement in the post-match trouble – Kessie among those disciplined.
The initial incident came about after Acerbi – a former Milan defender – stated in an interview that there was “no comparison” between the Lazio and Milan players, going on to suggest that his side are “stronger” than the San Siro club.
Bakayoko took exception to the comments and tweeted the 31-year-old: ‘OK Acerbi see you Saturday’. Milan ultimately prevailed on the day, with a Kessie penalty separating the sides.
After the match Acerbi tried to put the matter to bed by exchanging shirts, but Bakayoko and Kessie went on to wave the Lazio strip aloft in what appeared to be a taunting manner.
It has since been revealed that no action will be taken against the midfielders, and Milan have responded to the tribunal’s decision by saying they will cooperate fully with the “Public Prosecutor to complete the investigation.”
On Tuesday, the tribunal stated that “nothing was reported by the match delegate”, going on to explain how video evidence from television images could not be used and “Therefore, the tribunal is not competent to decide on what happened.”
In response, a Milan statement read: “Milan acknowledges the disciplinary measures issued by the sports judge and the simultaneous decision to decline to the Federal Prosecutor the competence of an investigation against the players Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko, an episode on which a strong media attention was focused to the detriment of the other episodes that occurred during the evening.
“Aware that this was an unpleasant incident, which the Club promptly managed within it, AC Milan intends to cooperate with the Public Prosecutor to complete the investigation, in the certainty that his outcome will in no way be conditioned by the statements made at this time.”
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Bakayoko and Acerbi put matter to bed
Following the incident Acerbi took to social media to vent his disappointment, writing: “Fomenting hatred is not sport but a sign of weakness.”
However, both players have since apologised to Acerbi, with Bakayoko saying it was only meant as a “playful gesture” and not to “disrespect anyone”, while Kessie stated it was just meant to be a “joke”.
In the immediate aftermath AC Milan issued a statement, insisting that the celebration was not meant to be disrespectful towards Acerbi or Lazio.
And after the match Bakayoko phoned the Italian centre-back to apologise, with Acerbi appearing to accept the heartfelt gesture by tweeting: “No more controversy we will meet again on the field.”
— Francesco Acerbi (@Acerbi_Fra) April 14, 2019