An Italian soccer player is being punished this week for leaving a little too much on the field.
Giovanni Liberti, who plays for the lower-tier squad Turris, has been ordered to sit out the next five matches after he “urinated in the direction of the away section, making obscene and vulgar gestures, while showing his genital organ,” Serie D’s disciplinary committee said in a statement on Wednesday.
The incident occurred toward the end of the team’s 3-3 draw against Sarnese on Sunday, according to the Associated Press, but the club is disputing the chain of events and plans to appeal.
“Our player has absolutely not committed this offense,” Turris President Antonio Colantonio said in a statement posted to the club’s Facebook page on Thursday.
Colantonio said Liberti was not urinating, but drinking from a water fountain. He then accidentally exposed himself when he was tucking his jersey into his shorts.
“There is only the testimony of an assistant referee located on the other side of the pitch,” Colantonio said of the evidence against the player. “The visiting club confirmed to us that our player did not do anything that has been alleged.”
“I am saddened by this decision, which we plan to appeal,” he added. “Our players respect both the rules of play and the ethics and morals of the game.”
Liberti’s ban comes on the heels of a roughly $2,400 fine the club received after fans harassed an assistant referee during the team’s 1-1 draw against Altamura on Oct. 8. In that instance, fans threw bottles, rocks and yelled obscenities, according to the disciplinary committee.
Colantonio admitted to the fans’ bad behavior after the match, calling it “a cause for regret” in a Facebook statement
“I hope that this kind of incident doesn’t happen again,” he said. “If it does, we will be forced to play behind closed doors.”