The Italian restaurant owner who offended many Maltese with insulting comments on facebook yesterday, leading to the creation of two pages calling for a boycott has now apologised for his remarks.

The Italian owner of  La Piccola Calabria of Xemxija made his remarks during the Italy-Malta match.

He said this morning he had been joking with his wife on facebook and matters only deteriorated when somebody insulted his family. He then made a full apology in the afternoon.

In one of his facebook comments half way through the match yesterday, the restaurateur said: "Italy 1 Malta 0 - Come on champions let us score another 10 goals and give them a lesson in football. You Maltese, go and collect potatoes, forget football it is not for you.

"Were it not for us Italians, who came here and brought our money and our intelligence, you would have remained Arab Bedouins. If you still have a voice left, continue to sing in your crap Arabic."

His comments were followed by a barrage of insulting replies and the creation of the facebook pages calling for a boycott of his restaurant.

This morning, the restaurateur tried to calm the waters and explain.

He said he had been joking with his wife on facebook but somebody got involved and offended his wife and family.

He reiterated his claims in the afternoon and said:

"I believe this is not right, I only wanted to joke on a football match which is of little national importance between two very close countries bound by friendship, equal values and traditions.

"If someone felt offended, I sincerely apologise from the bottom of my heart. I have lived in Malta for 11 years and this means that I’m happy here and that I have a good relatioship with the Maltese..."

He hoped that common sense would prevail, wished everyone a good day and again apologised "because believe me it was not my intention to offend a nation with whom I live and among whom I have good and true friends."

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