Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini criticised Gonzalo Higuain on Tuesday for the AC Milan forward’s meltdown after he was sent off for verbally abusing a referee.
In Sunday’s 2-2 draw with his parent club Juventus the on-loan Argentinian responded aggressively to being shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Medhi Benatia.
That led referee Paolo Mazzoleni to give Higuain his marching orders.
“I am ashamed of this disgraceful behaviour. I hope he’ll have a very long suspension,” Salvini, who is also Italy’s Interior Minister, said.
“From today onwards, those who commit these types of offences will pay and pay heavily,” the leader of Italy’s Lega Nord added.
He advised the Italian Football Federation to increase the sanctions given to players for similar conduct.
“If there’s a risk of a five-year suspension instead of one month then the incidents would be rarer,” he said.
Salvini was meeting with the president of Italy’s Referees Association Marcello Nicchi after an assault on a young referee in an amateur match during the weekend.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Cillian Cunningham)