Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora has been hit with a one-match suspension, not for an errant elbow or a mistimed tackle, but for taking the Lord’s name in vain.
After having a shot saved during a match against Sampdoria, a frustrated Mandragora was caught on television cameras exclaiming “Porca Madonna, vaffanculo, Dio cane”, which translates as “The Virgin Mary is a swine, f**k off, God is a dog”, or something thereabouts.
The expletives went unnoticed and/or unpunished by the referee, but the ‘incident’ was later reviewed by the Lega Serie A disciplinary committee, who have duly banned the 21-year-old for the heinous crime of making “blasphemous remarks”.
A statement from the Serie A governing body reads thus:
After acquiring and examining the relevant television images, the player, while cursing without referring to anybody around him, was nevertheless clearly seen by the television images to make blasphemous remarks, visibly identifiable from reading his lips without any margin for reasonable doubt.
Blaspheming in public is a no-no in Italy (depending who you ask, of course) and this isn’t the first time the footballing authorities have admonished players for doing so, with Gianluigi Buffon sternly rebuked for uttering God’s name shortly after the Italian FA had introduced their new blasphemy law in 2010.
Surely a warning would have sufficed in both/all cases – should you be labouring under the ridiculous illusion that, in 2018, punishment is necessary in the first place.
How silly. We mean, for God’s sake…