Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s comments after Paris St Germain’s defeat to Bordeaux will be investigated by the French football league (LFP).
Ibrahimovic scored twice on Sunday but it was not enough to prevent PSG suffering a 3-2 defeat and they trail Lyon by two points at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
As he walked off the field Ibrahimovic – no stranger to making controversial remarks – was filmed seemingly making derogatory comments about the referee and France as a country.
Speaking in English but in partial sentences, the Sweden striker can be heard saying: “He’s an a******. Play 15 years, never seen referee this s*** country. Don’t even deserve PSG should be in this country. F****** too good for all of you. Should be happy they exist.”
An LFP statement on Monday read: “Following the receipt of the officials’ report, the disciplinary commission of the LFP will study in its meeting of Thursday March 19 the comments made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the end of the game between Girondins de Bordeaux and Paris St Germain (29th round of Ligue 1).”
French sports minister Patrick Kanner called on the Swede to apologise, telling him “disappointment did not justify his offensive comments”.
He later called Ibrahimovic a “great champion” after the player wrote on his Instagram account: “Regarding my comments after tonight’s game; they were not against France or the French people.
“I spoke about football. I lost the game, I accept that but I can’t accept when the referee doesn’t follow the rules. It’s not the first time and I’m sick of it.
“My sincere apologies if anyone was offended or took it the wrong way.”
Ibrahimovic’s anger was sparked when no free-kick was given after Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso picked up a clear backpass from defender Ludovic Sane with five minutes remaining.
The outburst comes less than a week after he accused Chelsea’s players of acting like “babies” after he was sent off in his side’s Champions League victory over the Blues.
Ibrahimovic’s comments towards referee Lionel Jaffredo, and the criticism that surrounded Dutch official Bjorn Kuipers following the Chelsea game, prompted a response from France’s elite referees organisation SAFE (Syndicat des Arbitres du Football d’Elite).
An open letter from SAFE president Stephane Lannoy on the organisation’s website read: “We thought we had seen a peak in media outcry after Chelsea-PSG. We thought we had heard everything. But no.
“Sunday night, for a back-pass, we had a new outburst of hatred and verbal abuse. The equation is simple: back-pass = worst referee in 15 years = s*** country.
“After Mr Kuipers on Wednesday (from what country...?), Mr Jaffredo on Sunday - and ultimately, as the cup was not yet full, the whole of France.”
The letter concluded: “It is time to realise we cannot say anything, do anything and accept anything. It is high time that finally, in football, everyone recognises the status of the referee and accepts and respects it.”