“Racism does not and will never play any role in my life, just as it should not play any role in the lives of any of us,” Ivan Nemer expresses regret after giving a rotten banana to Benetton team-mate Cherif Traore as a Christmas present
Last Updated: 27/01/23 7:10pm
Benetton Rugby prop Ivan Nemer has been suspended until June 30 after giving a rotten banana to team-mate Cherif Traore as a Christmas present.
The Italian Rugby Federation confirmed the suspension following an investigation into the incident during a private lunch organised by the club’s players on December 20.
“I deeply regret what happened, the stupidity of my gesture, the damage caused to a friend, the harm caused to my team, to my team-mates, to the country I represent and to the game I love,” Nemer said in a statement.
“Racism does not and will never play any role in my life, just as it should not play any role in the lives of any of us,” he added.
In deciding on the sanction, the Federal Court took into account Nemer’s desire to clarify everything that happened, as the player also waived his right to appeal the sentence.
The Italian Rugby Federation, in agreement with Benetton Rugby, said that Nemer will actively participate as a scrum specialist in the FIR Migrantes Project and will simultaneously take part in a training and awareness course on integration issues in an independent structure.
The 24-year-old’s future involvement in FIR’s international activity will depend on his participation in and subsequent successful completion of the training and awareness-raising course, which must be certified by the organising entity.
Traore was born in Guinea but has lived in Italy since the age of seven. He plays prop for the northern Treviso club and for the Italian national team.
Following the incident, Traore wrote on Instagram that he did not normally react to “racist jokes” so as not to make enemies.
He later said he had accepted an apology from the team for what happened.