By MATT PORTER
- There have been multiple incidents of racist abuse in Serie A games recently
- The clubs have decided it’s time for action, with all 20 penning an open letter
- They admit they haven’t done enough, but are looking to put a stop to racism
All 20 Serie A clubs have come together to pen an open letter to Italian football fans, calling for an end to racism.
The Italian league has been plagued by high-profile cases of racist abuse from fans directed towards black players over the past year, and the teams have decided to take action.
The letter, whose creation was driven by AC Milan, is addressed to ‘all those who love Italian football,’ and says ‘we have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism.’
Romelu Lukaku suffered vile abuse from Cagliari fans as the Inter Milan striker stepped up to take a penalty in September, in the same way that Moise Kean was abused when he was a Juventus player last season.
A match between Atalanta and Fiorentina was suspended later that month as racist chants could be heard coming from the crowd.
Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was also on the receiving end of abuse as he prepared to take a spot kick against Inter Milan last year.
‘It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years,’ the open letter continues.
‘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.
Even Brescia club president Massimo Cellino came under fire recently after appearing to blame Mario Balotelli’s poor performances on his race.
‘He’s black, what can I say, he’s working on clearing himself but he’s having a lot of difficulty,’ he said. The club immediately released a statement saying it was ‘a paradoxical joke’ and was ‘misunderstood.’
Balotelli experienced racism at the beginning of his career at Inter Milan, and he was also the target of racist chants this season during a match at Hellas Verona.
The game was suspended for several minutes and Balotelli threatened to leave the field.
The open letter says: ‘We, the undersigned clubs, are united by our desire for serious change and Lega Serie A has stated its intention to lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust Serie A anti-racism policy, stricter new laws and regulations and a plan for educating those within the game about the scourge of racism.
‘We don’t have any more time to waste.’
Racism from fans is also apparent outside of Italy, with some of England’s stars receiving abuse this year as well. It is hoped that UEFA will step in with harsher punishments to end it for good.
SERIE A’S RACISM LETTER IN FULL
An open letter to all those who love Italian football
We have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism.
It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years.
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.
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.
Driven by the clubs, positive conversations have been held in recent weeks with Lega Serie A, FIGC and international experts on how to tackle and eradicate this issue from the game.
We, the undersigned clubs, are united by our desire for serious change and Lega Serie A has stated its intention to lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust Serie A anti-racism policy, stricter new laws and regulations and a plan for educating those within the game about the scourge of racism.
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.
Atalanta, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Fiorentina, Genoa, Hellas Verona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Lazio, Lecce, AC Milan, Napoli, Parma, AS Roma, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, SPAL, Torino, Udinese
first published by https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport