Sun, Dec 01, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Serie A clubs acknowledge ‘problem with racism’

AP, MILAN, Italy

Brescia forward Mario Balotelli gestures toward fans during their Serie A match against Juventus in Brescia, Italy, on Sept. 24.

Photo: AFP

The 20 Serie A clubs on Friday issued a statement “to publicly recognize that we have a serious problem with racism.”

The acknowledgment came amid a top league marred by constant episodes of racist chants and discriminatory behavior.

“It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years,” the clubs said.

“Images of players being racially abused in Italian football have been viewed and discussed all around the world this season and that shames us all,” they said.

Racist chants have recently been aimed at Romelu Lukaku, Franck Kessie, Dalbert Henrique, Miralem Pjanic, Ronaldo Vieira, Kalidou Koulibaly and Mario Balotelli. All of the players targeted — except for Pjanic, who is Bosnian — are black.

England international Eniola Aluko, who was to leave Juventus’ women’s squad following yesterday’s game against ACF Fiorentina, said she experienced racism off the pitch in Italy.

“Sometimes Turin feels a couple of decades behind in terms of its general openness to different kinds of people,” Aluko wrote in a column for the Guardian. “I have grown tired of walking into stores and feeling as if the owner expects me to rob the place. There is only so many times you can arrive at Turin airport and have the sniffer dogs treat you like you are [Colombian drug lord] Pablo Escobar.”

“I have not experienced any racism from Juventus fans or within the women’s league, but there is an issue in Italy and in Italian football and it is the response to it that really worries me, from owners and fans in the men’s game who seem to see it as a part of fan culture,” Aluko added.

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