Romanian and Italian football officials and Fiorentina fans have taken stand on a comment by US Palermo football club head Maurizio Zamparini who called Romanian football striker Adrian Mutu a “crafty little gypsy”.

Zamparini’s apparently racist comment came as Mutu managed a spectacular goal for Fiorentina against Palermo in a Sunday match despite the Sicilian team reported one man down in the middle of the pitch.

The Romanian Football Federation announced it would ask the Italian federation for supplementary details on the case. And Fiorentina supporters used their team website to launch a “I too am a Gypsy” campaign.

On Tuesday, Zamparini returned with some explanations for La Repubblica: “I did not want to be offensive. I referred to his origin in post-communist Romania… Mutu was smart, that’s what I wanted to say. He comes from a country where in communist times one had to deal with stuff in order to survive”.