Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has rejected claims from Gennaro Gattuso's agent he was called a "f*****g Italian b*****d" by Spurs assistant Joe Jordan.
AC Milan midfielder Gattuso grabbed Jordan by the throat during Milan's 1-0 Champions League defeat to Spurs on Tuesday, and the pair became entangled again after the final whistle, with the Italy international planting a headbutt on the 49-year-old Scot.
Gattuso's agent publicly accused Jordan of provoking his client with the verbal abuse but Redknapp, who would have been in earshot of whatever Jordan was shouting at Gattuso, denied the former Milan striker would have brought Gattuso's nationality into their arguments.
"This is a case of someone playing the race card, trying to deflect from what happened," Redknapp said in the Sun. "Joe is not, and never has been, a racist. There is no chance of Joe saying that. He has the utmost respect for Italy and their people. Italians are among his close friends, he speaks the language and is a great admirer of their way of life. Joe never said anything. Why anyone would come out with this, after Gattuso has apologised and called his own behaviour inexcusable, is beyond me."
UEFA has confirmed that it would be investigating the incident and Gattuso could be handed a lengthy suspension, though he apologised for the clash on Tuesday night.
"I lost my head, I did things I should not have done and I take responsibility for that," Gattuso said. "Jordan busted my balls for the whole second half, but I should not have reacted like this. I apologise, and if a ban arrives I will accept it."
Gattuso's agent Claudio Pasqualin had said he believes his client was heavily provoked by Jordan.
"What seems evident to me is that my client was strongly provoked by Joe Jordan," Pasqualin told Italian station Radio Kiss Kiss. "Jordan, after having continuously heckled him, insulted him with truly low phrase, saying 'f*****g Italian b*****d'.
"For one like Rino, who has a strong sense of his Italian identity, I think this is the most disgusting and unjustifiable of insults."