AS Roma’s Bryan Cristante has fallen victim to Italy’s strict ban on taking God’s name in vain on the pitch, picking up a one-match ban for blasphemy, the Lega Serie A announced on Monday.
The 25-year-old Italy international midfielder was sanctioned for swearing after he conceded an own goal during Sunday’s 5-1 Serie A win over Bologna.
“(Cristante) pronounced a blasphemous expression in the 23rd minute of the first half,” the Lega Serie A said in a statement without specifying the nature of the offending remark.
“The player in question was clearly framed by the television footage while uttering a blasphemous expression that is identifiable and audible without margin of reasonable doubt.”
As a result Cristante will miss Thursday’s league game against Torino in Rome.
Since 2010, the Italian FA have taken disciplinary action against several players and coaches heard disrespecting God or the sacred.
Former Italy and former Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon has in the past been forced to apologise for uttering the word “Dio” (God), although he once claimed he had said “Zio” (uncle).
Udinese’s Italian international Rolando Mandragora also previously picked up a one-match ban, while AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma escaped punishment because of “lack of absolute certainty” over what he had said.
Italy rugby captain Sergio Parisse was also forced to apologise after being filmed uttering a blasphemous phrase before a Six Nations game against France.
According to the Italian FA’s rules, players who also show T-shirts with personal messages to their family, or which make a reference to their religious beliefs will also be punished.
Many European countries have blasphemy laws on the statute book but they are hardly ever invoked.