MILAN: Inter Milan striker Christian Vieri has denied allegations that he made racist remarks to Newcastle United's Lomana LuaLua during Tuesday's Champions League match at the San Siro stadium.
European football's governing body UEFA said that Newcastle had made an official complaint to its delegate at the match.
Newcastle said that Italian international Vieri, who scored Inter's first goal in the 2-2 draw, had made comments to Democratic Republic of Congo forward LuaLua two minutes before the end of the game, UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA said it would instigate disciplinary proceedings and investigate the alleged offence, and that a decision would probably be taken on March 21, with any appeal dealt with on April 3 or 4.
Vieri rejected the accusation saying he had merely asked LuaLua to move out of the way.
“Even though we were in a turbulent phase of the match, I didn't say any words of a racist nature. I just tried to distance the player, who had even been booked in that moment, by telling him to move back,” the striker said on Inter's official website.
The game ended in a tense fashion with players disputing a free kick awarded to Inter close to the Newcastle penalty area.
“Besides, this row sparked at the end of the match. LuaLua didn't say anything on the pitch and didn't give any sign of reaction,” said Vieri.
Vieri picked up his third yellow card in this season's competition in the second half of Tuesday's match and is suspended from Inter's final Group A match away against Bayer Leverkusen next Wednesday.
Inter could also face sanctions from UEFA after racist jeering from their fans and the hurling of a flare into the visiting supporters' section during the match. – Reuters