UEFA has begun a formal investigation into allegations Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga was racially abused while playing for Sweden’s Under-21s in Italy.
The forward’s complaint was made after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw in qualifying for the European Championship, although the exact details have not been made public.
The Swedish FA’s head of security Martin Fredman said after the game that “neither Anthony nor anyone else for that matter should have to be exposed to that type of attack” and said it was important the incident was reported.
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But the Italian Football Federation has vehemently denied the claim, but highlighted that Sweden’s players celebrated – in their opinion – for too long after scoring a stoppage time equaliser. A statement said: “We reiterate that no racist offence occurred before, at that time or subsequently, and the FIGC will protect its image and that of its players.
“At the same time, the FIGC reaffirms the constant commitment made by all Italian football, and in particular by the national teams, through numerous initiatives, to combat racism and once again condemns any discriminatory insult or episode of violence.”
UEFA is now likely to study video footage and gather evidence, after confirming the matter will be looked into thoroughly.
A statement from European football’s governing body said: “In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding the incidents which allegedly occurred during the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying match between Italy and Sweden played on 12 October 2021,” a statement read.
“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
Elanga is now back with United. He has made three appearances for the first-team and scored his first senior goal for the club on the final day of the 2020-21 Premier League season, in a victory over Wolves.
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