Rome Newsroom, Jan 27, 2021 / 12:00 pm
A leading Italian soccer player is facing a possible ban after allegedly blaspheming last month.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is alleged to have used a blasphemous expression when speaking to a teammate during a match against Parma on Dec. 19.
The 42-year-old is alleged to have used profanity which compares God to an animal.
Buffon, recently voted the best goalkeeper of all time in a poll of his peers, holds the record for most appearances as captain of the Italian national team.
Blasphemy in public is an “administrative offense” under Italian penal law, punishable with a fine ranging from 51.65 to 309.87 euros (around $60-$375).
Blasphemous language is also against the rules of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), which require proper behavior in the sports arena, and is punishable by a minimum of a one-match ban. Referees may give out red cards to players they hear blaspheming.
Blasphemy was a crime in Italian law from 1930, when it was introduced by Benito Mussolini, until it was decriminalized in 1999 to unlawful conduct.
The FIGC opened an investigation into Buffon’s alleged blasphemous expression after the match in December. It confirmed on Jan. 26 that the case had been passed to the federal court, according to ESPN.