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Zlatan's French rant ban reduced to three matches

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Zlatan's French rant ban reduced to three matches
Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
17:28 CEST+02:00
Controversial Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic's ban for his foul-mouthed rant at a referee in which he blasted France as a “shit country” has been reduced from four matches to three, French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Friday.

Ibrahimovic, 33, received the suspension for comments attacking France and its referees after his Paris Saint-Germain side lost by 3-2 to Bordeaux in March. The Swedish star striker later hit out at the ban, calling it a “a farce”.

PSG appealed the suspension to the French Olympic Committee, which proposed reducing the punishment to three games. The French football league agreed on Friday afternoon to follow the committee's recommendation, reported Le Parisien.

The row began when Ibrahimovic took exception to some of the decisions made by referee Lionel Jaffredo in a game against Bordeaux in March and cut a furious figure at the final whistle when he stormed down the tunnel.

"In 15 years, I have never seen such a referee. In this shit country, this country does not deserve PSG." the striker blasted in English at the final whistle.

"PSG shouldn't be in this country. We are too good for this country," he added.

In an extended clip shown on the Canal+ television channel, the Swede was also seen accosting the referee, whom he calls an "idiot".

Politicians were soon sounding off about Ibrahimovic's words with the minister of sport demanding an apology and the National Front leader Marine Le Pen inviting the Sweden striker to leave the country.

"Those who consider France a shit country can leave it," she said. 

It wasn't long before the big Swede was offering his excuses for the rant.

In a statement released after the game Ibrahimovic apologized saying: "My words were not targeting France or the French people. I was speaking about football and nothing else.

"I was speaking when I was annoyed and everyone knows that at these moments you can speak without thinking," he said.

SEE ALSO: What could Zlatan have against France?

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