The vice-president of France’s refereeing union has said he accepts Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s apology following the Paris Saint-Germain striker’s rant at officials at Bordeaux on Sunday.
Furious following his team’s 3-2 defeat, in which referee Lionel Jaffredo and his assistants failed to spot a back-pass that was picked up by goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, Ibrahimovic, 33, launched a verbal assault on the refereeing team.
His tirade, which was captured on camera, featured him telling the fourth official to “wake up!” and ended with the Sweden captain suggesting France was “a s— country” and “did not deserve PSG.”
Following a press release on his club’s official website in which he apologised, Ibrahimovic reiterated and reinforced his apology in a video published on the same site on Monday.
“It’s the first time I have heard his apology. I think all French referees are going to hear it. Of course, we’re delighted he has done it,” Syndicat des Arbitres du Football d’Elite vice-president Laurent Ugo told Foot365 after the body had earlier published an open letter asking for match officials to be shown more respect.
“He changed it a little bit from yesterday and this morning — firstly after the reaction of the Sports Minister, and it doesn’t happen often that a minister intervenes in such matters. It’s very important, and Mr Ibrahimovic has apologised afterwards.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic runs the risk of a four-game ban with another match added following his rant.
“That’s what we wanted to say in our open letter. In short, the club readjusts their player’s communication and tells him, ‘You are going to say this.’ That’s how it works. This apology seems very natural from him, and of course it is accepted with great pleasure on our part.”
Despite the apology, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) disclosed on Monday that its Disciplinary Commission will be looking into the incident.
Ibrahimovic runs the risk of a four-game ban with another match added, with striker having been under the threat of a one-game suspension following his previous brush with French football’s authorities.
However, Ibrahimovic should still be available for his club’s crunch Ligue 1 encounter with Marseille — who are just two points and one spot behind second-placed PSG in the Ligue 1 table — on April 5.
Under LFP rules, Ibrahimovic cannot appear before the panel until two weeks have passed following the commission first officially opening its enquiry, which will be on March 19.
That means no decision can be taken before the commission’s hearing on April 9, and any sanction would take effect on April 14.