January 1 – UEFA and the international players’ union FIFPro have both criticised the match officials for “failing to respect anti-racism protocol” after monkey chants were directed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly throughout his team’s 1-0 Serie A loss at Inter Milan on Boxing Day.
The pre-match violence and subsequent racist chanting immediately resulted in a ban on Inter fans attending the club’s next two home games. The scenes of violence before the game saw more than 100 Inter fans attack coaches carrying Napoli supporters. One fan died after being hit by a van while several Inter fans were arrested
FIFPro and UEFA also said the racial abuse aimed at Koulibaly, who was born in France to Senegalese parents, was “unacceptable” and had “no place in football.”
The two organisations backed the prompt action taken by the Italian league judge but criticised a failure to follow the recognised protocol for dealing with racist incidents.
The three-step process dictates that, in the first instance, the referee should stop the game and request that an announcement be made over the public address system. The second step requires the players to return to the changing rooms while the issue is addressed and the final step, if required, is to abandon the match.
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti claims he asked officials on three occasions to suspend the game at the San Siro but no such action was taken.
Koulibaly was sent off 10 minutes from the end of the match after he sarcastically applauded a booking, before Lautaro Martinez netted a stoppage-time winner for Inter.
“FIFPro and UEFA jointly condemn the racist abuse aimed towards Napoli player Kalidou Koulibaly last Wednesday during a league match at FC Internazionale in Milan,” read a joint statement.
“Both organisations applaud the prompt actions taken by Italy’s football authorities, who sanctioned FC Internazionale with the next two matches to be played behind closed doors and, additionally, with a partial closure for FC Internazionale’s third home match.
“However, FIFPro and UEFA are very concerned by this unacceptable racist incident and by what appears on the surface to be a failure to respect the widely recognised three-step anti-racism protocol. Both organisations are of the opinion that the racist chants towards Koulibaly, who had to leave the pitch after receiving a second yellow card, are unacceptable and have no place in football.
“FIFPro and UEFA support the Italian football authorities on any additional measure that will be taken to tackle racism in stadia for which FIFPro and UEFA have a zero-tolerance policy.”
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