Traore’s club Benetton Rugby took swift action by suspending the offending player.
Italian international Cherif Traore, born in Guinea Africa, has lived in Italy since he was 7 years old. The powerfully built prop made his international debut in 2018.
He revealed the offensive gesture on social media, calling it a ‘racist joke’.
A federal investigation has been started, with the national union confirming it was necessary for a federal prosecutor ‘to ascertain the facts, as well as the collective and individual responsibilities, to protect the founding values and reputation of the game.’
Benetton Rugby also took action to suspend a member “as a precaution, for the entire duration of the investigations by the public prosecutor’s office.”
Benetton Rugby’s squad and the player who gave him the banana apologised to Traore after being summoned to the club’s training ground.
Benetton Rugby is based in the Italian city of Treviso and currently sits in third place of Pool B of the EPCR Challenge Cup.