Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga was allegedly racially abused by an opponent while playing for Sweden Under-21s this week, his country’s football association has said.
The alleged incident took place during Sweden’s 1-1 draw with Italy in a European U21 Championship qualifier in Monza on Tuesday. Elanga, 19, played the full 90 minutes and made the complaint after the game.
The Italian Football Federation has dismissed the claim and called for clarification from European governing body UEFA.
A statement on the Swedish FA’s official website read: “In connection with the Under-21 national team’s European Championship qualifier against Italy in Monza on Tuesday, Anthony Elanga has stated after the match that he has been subjected to a racist comment from an opponent in the Italian Under-21 national team.”
Anthony Elanga 🔥
5️⃣ U21-landskamper5️⃣ Mål
— Svensk Fotboll (@svenskfotboll) October 12, 2021
Sweden Under-21s manager Claes Eriksson said: “We have told our version of what happened and have submitted an oral report to both the referees and the match delegates.
“We are now waiting for feedback through the match report and the referee’s report. Once they have arrived, we decide how to proceed.
“No one should have to be exposed to racism, it is completely unacceptable. We all stand behind and support Anthony in this.”
The game finished in dramatic fashion as Sweden snatched a stoppage-time equaliser through Tim Prica.
The Italian federation (FIGC) insists nothing of racist nature occurred at any point.
A statement read: “In relation to what was reported by the Swedish Football Association on its website and taken up by some media, the FIGC denies in the most absolute way that a footballer of the Under-21 national team, during the Italy-Sweden match played in Monza, expressed racist slurs against an opponent, an incident which, as far as we know, was not noticed by the match officials or the UEFA delegate.
“We hope that the governing bodies will promptly clarify the case. From television images broadcast yesterday and still available, after the equaliser, in the 92nd minute, two Swedish players celebrate the goal for a long time and are called by Italian footballers to resume the game quickly.
“We reiterate that no racist offence occurred before, at that time or subsequently, and the FIGC will protect its image and that of its players.
“At the same time, the FIGC reaffirms the constant commitment made by all Italian football, and in particular by the national teams, through numerous initiatives, to combat racism and once again condemns any discriminatory insult or episode of violence.”
UEFA has confirmed it has received the officials’ reports and these will now be reviewed.
Elanga has made three senior appearances for United and scored in a 2-1 win against Wolves on the final day of last season.