September 19 – The head of European football’s main anti-discriminatory body has slammed Italian officials for failing to deal with increasing instances of abuse saying the authorities are “not fit for purpose”.
“The rot is deep,” Fare executive director Piara Powar told the BBC.
Power made his comments after Cagliari were cleared of racist chanting by its fans towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku in a recent Serie A fixture. The Belgian international was subjected to monkey chants by Cagliari fans when he scored a penalty in a 2-1 win.
An Italian report into the incident conceded that abuse was directed at Lukaku by Cagliari fans but that it was not sufficient in “size and perception” to merit punishing the club.
This has infuriated Powar who raged: “We believe the Italian authorities and the disciplinary system is simply not fit for purpose.”
“Whether it is the FIGC [Italian Football Federation] or Serie A, they have failed to protect countless players from racism over the past year and have no meaningful response to the endemic racism in stadiums.
“There are no visible campaigns, no progressive fan leaders, as well as apathy and prejudice among the media.
“No-one is taking the issue seriously – no-one apart from the players, the victims themselves, and a few allies who have been courageous enough to stand up.”
Britain’s anti-racism charity Kick It Out also got in on the act.
“This is a cowardly decision from Serie A and the Italian FA, in response to disgusting racist abuse aimed at Romelu Lukaku,” said a statement. “We can only assume that the Italian authorities do not care that they are effectively endorsing this behaviour.
“As they refuse to take action against repeated racist abuse by the same group of supporters, it’s about time UEFA stepped in and showed some leadership.”
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