December 2 – Not before time, all 20 Serie A clubs in Italy have made a united pledge to combat the “serious problem” of racism which, they say, “shames us all”.
The clubs have penned an open letter saying they could “no longer stay silent” after a number of incidents this season.
Most recently, Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was targeted by Verona fans while earlier in the season Inter Milan striker Romela Lukaku was the subject of monkey chants from Cagliari fans.
“We have to publicly recognize that we have a serious problem with racism. It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years,” read the letter.
“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.
The head of anti-discriminatory body Fare recently warned that Italian football authorities and their disciplinary systems to combat racism were “not fit for purpose”.
Partly as a result, Serie A said it now plans to set out a “comprehensive and robust” anti-racism policy with stricter laws and more effective education.
“No individual should ever be subjected to racist abuse — inside or outside of football — and we can no longer stay silent on this issue or wait for it to magically disappear,” the clubs said.
“We don’t have any more time to waste. We must now act with speed, with purpose and with unity and we call on you, the fans, to support us in this vitally important endeavour. We … are united by our desire for serious change.”
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