Red Star Belgrade apologises to Ibrahimovic for racist abuse

Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered racist abuse during AC Milan’s Europa League contest in Belgrade.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks on during warm up before the Europa League round-of-32 contest at the Rajko Mitic Stadium on Thursday.   -  AP

Red Star Belgrade issued an apology to AC Milan and its striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday for racist abuse the Swede suffered during Thursday’s Europa League match between the two teams in the Serbian capital.

Belgrade media reported that Ibrahimovic, who has Bosnian roots, was insulted by an individual seated in the Red Star stadium’s VIP box and the B92 website (www.b92.net) published a clip with a soundbite of the comments.

“Red Star vehemently condemns abusive chants to Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the Europa League match with AC Milan,” the club said in a statement circulated to Serbian media.

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“The club did everything in its power to organise the event on a high level and we will not allow a primitive individual to stain Serbia’s traditional hospitality. We will work with the authorities to identify the offender and we will also insist that he is punished to the full extent of the law. Red Star again sincerely apologises to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and we stress that the club will have zero tolerance for such outbursts in the future.”

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The first leg of the round-of-32 match ended in a 2-2 draw after Red Star scored a stoppage time equaliser, with Ibrahimovic an unused substitute for Milan.

No fans attended the match because of COVID-19 restrictions and Ibrahimovic was seated in the stadium’s west tier behind the dugouts along with other Milan substitutes and staff.