Milan defend Bakayoko and Kessie

by | Apr 14, 2019 17:30

Milan released a statement defending Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie after they seemed to mock Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi. “It was not aggressive or unsporting.”

The players had been exchanging messages on social media in the build-up to last night’s 1-0 Milan win, but when Acerbi exchanged jerseys with Bakayoko at the final whistle, the midfielder and teammate Kessie held it up to the Rossoneri fans and pulled faces, almost treating it as a trophy.

Milan released a statement defending Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie after they seemed to mock Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi. “It was not aggressive or unsporting.”

The players had been exchanging messages on social media in the build-up to last night’s 1-0 Milan win, but when Acerbi exchanged jerseys with Bakayoko at the final whistle, the midfielder and teammate Kessie held it up to the Rossoneri fans and pulled faces, almost treating it as a trophy.

This offended Acerbi, who expressed his dissatisfaction via social media, with both Milan players apologising.

Now that there are reports the Disciplinary Commission has opened an investigation into the incident and a politician bitterly criticised them, Milan have hit back with an official statement.

“AC Milan wish to reconstruct the events after the Milan v Lazio game and make some clarifications. The Rossoneri players went under the Curva Sud at San Siro to salute the fans. It is a custom for them to do this.

“Last night, Tiemoue Bakayoko reached his teammates under the stands holding Francesco Acerbi’s jersey, having just then completed a sporting exchange of jerseys, and held it up for a few seconds (along with Franck Kessie) to the crowd.

“The sole intention was to celebrate an important victory with no intention to mock, nor be aggressive or unsporting. It was an innocent, naïve response to a friendly exchange of tweets with Acerbi in the days leading up to the game.

“The proof is in the dynamics of what happened, the facial expressions of the players, the total absence of jeers or other negative elements.

“In realising this innocent gesture had upset Francesco Acerbi personally (a colleague who all the Milan players respect), both Tiemour and Franck publicly apologised to him.

“It was also interpreted as an innocent gesture by Lazio director of sport Igli Tare, who at the end of the match declared it was “banter as part of a fiery game, one we shouldn’t give too much importance to.”

“Milan are based on values like respect (on the field and off it), equality, inclusion: Tiemoue and Franck know, share and express those values every day.”

While there is no suggestion Bakayoko and Kessie could be banned for the gesture, they would be fined for unsporting behaviour.

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