ROME (AP) — Inter Milan president Steven Zhang is facing disciplinary action for insulting Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino in an Instagram post reacting to the way the Italian league is handling the fallout from the virus outbreak.

The Italian soccer federation opened an inquiry Tuesday into Zhang’s post.

In an Instagram story, Zhang called Dal Pino “the biggest and darkest clown I have ever seen.”

Ten Serie A matches have been postponed over the last two weekends because of the virus outbreak in Italy, where more than 50 people have died and more than 2,000 have been infected.

After initially deciding that games last weekend could be held in empty stadiums, Serie A then decided hours before kickoff that the games would be postponed until May.

The schedule could be altered again at an emergency league assembly in Rome on Wednesday, amid reports that some of the postponed games could be made up over the next week.


Much of the controversy has centered around the Juventus-Inter game, known as the “Derby d’Italia” or Italy’s derby, which was originally scheduled for last weekend. The league’s decision to postpone the game was seen as being dictated by Juventus, which did not want to play a home game in an empty stadium.

“It’s time to stand up and take your responsibility,” Zhang wrote about Dal Pino.

Meanwhile, the second legs of the Italian Cup semifinals (Juventus-AC Milan and Napoli-Inter) are scheduled to go ahead this week; with fans in the virus-affected areas banned from attending the Juventus-Milan game.

Last week, Inter played Ludogrets inside an empty stadium in the Europa League.


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