MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis will apologise for calling Melbourne Victory’s Albanian striker Besart Berisha a “gypsy” during a tempestuous A-League derby on Saturday.
Bouzanis clashed with Berisha in the wake of a 87th minute Manny Muscat own goal which gave Victory their come-from-behind 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium.
The Australian pointed his finger at Berisha, who had missed a penalty but scored Victory’s equaliser in the 84th minute, and shouted the racial slur along with an expletive in comments that could be heard on the television broadcast.
“Bouzanis admitted making the remarks out of ignorance; however, has since understood the seriousness of his comments,” Melbourne City said in a statement on Sunday.
”Once informed of the gravity of his actions, Bouzanis committed to redressing the offence at the earliest opportunity.
“As such, he will issue a formal and personal apology to the player and begin an appropriate educational course to rectify the gaps in his understanding.”
The winning goal, which Berisha celebrated by shouting in Bouzanis’s face, was controversial as the linesman had flagged the Albanian for offside only for the referee to over-rule the call.
Australia forward Tim Cahill, who was preparing to come on for City as a substitute, was shown a red card for complaining about the goal before he stepped onto the pitch.
The win moved 2015 champions Victory to within nine points of unbeaten leaders Sydney FC in second place in the A-League after 18 matches of the season.
England rugby union prop Joe Marler was suspended for two matches and fined 20,000 pounds ($28,310) by World Rugby for calling Wales counterpart Samson Lee a “gypsy boy” during a Six Nations match last year.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury