FIFA's Infantino: Racism in Italian football is 'very serious'
Referee ordered a warning read over stadium’s loudspeaker after chants apparently made by Atalanta fans [File: Marco Rosi/Getty Images]
FIFA President Gianni Infantino urged Italian soccer authorities to hand out stadium bans for supporters guilty of racism after another incident in a Serie A match between Atalanta and Fiorentina on Sunday.
Play was briefly suspended after Fiore’s Brazilian wing-back Henrique Dalbert reportedly told referee Daniele Orsato he had been the target of racist abuse from fans at the Stadio Ennio Tardini in Parma, where Atlanta are based while their ground is revamped.
“Racism is combatted with education, condemnation and discussion,” said the FIFA chief, who was a guest on a programme aired by Italian state broadcaster Rai.
“You can’t have racism in society or in football. In Italy the situation hasn’t improved and this is serious.
“You need to identify those responsible and throw them out of the stadiums. You need, as in England, the certainty of the penalty. You can’t be afraid to condemn racists, we need to combat them until they stop.”
The referee ordered a warning to be read over the stadium’s loudspeaker after the chants were apparently made by Atalanta fans towards the Brazilian player.
Google News, Bing News, Yahoo News, 200+ publications
Near the half-hour mark, Dalbert stopped and glared at the direction where the chants appeared to come from, and he then spoke to the referee.
The address over the loudspeaker, warning the match would not resume until the chants stopped was met with whistles from the crowd.
Once the crowd calmed down, the match resumed after a break of several minutes.
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and AC Milan’s Franck Kessie have also been targeted this season but no club has been punished by the league judge.
Atalanta fans have been accused of racism before.
Last year, Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi questioned if UEFA cared about tackling racism after European soccer’s governing body rejected his complaint that the Bergamo club’s fans subjected him to abuse during a Europa League game in Italy.
Both Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella and Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said they didn’t hear the chants.
“Nobody heard the chants,” Gasperini said, according to the ANSA news agency. “But if some imbecile said something, that’s different. It’s serious, it happens in all the stadiums.”
Atalanta, which is based in Bergamo, is playing in Parma while its stadium is being renovated.