The Italian grassroots group Fondazione Integra/Azione will host a match against racism and intolerance on Monday, 28 January, at Rome’s Fluvio Bernardini sporting centre.
With the slogan “NO AL RAZZISMO, NO RACISM, NON AU RACISME, للعنصرية لا”, the organisation’s event aims to raise awareness in Italian society and call for a more pro-active engagement from the country’s politicians in fighting discrimination.
After the walk-off by Kevin- Prince Boateng earlier this month, the Fondazione Integra/Azione will argue that a different approach to the policies for social inclusion and civil rights should be taken.
The AC Milan and Ghana midfielder Boateng left the field of play as a result of racist abuse by opposing supporters during a friendly match earlier this month. His Milan team-mates followed his example and the game was abandoned.
The occurrence has sparked great debates on how to deal with incidents on the field of play, leading to UEFA’s President Michel Platini emphasising this week how referees can act in the case of racist incidents.
Stressing that referees do have the power to abandon matches in reaction to racist incidents, Platini welcomed Boatengs's decision to leave the field: “I appreciated this very much. I also sent a message of congratulations to AC Milan's [vice-president] Mr Galliani. I found [the decision] a good thing to do.”
Support from Italian legend Totti
With the support of FARE partner UISP, Legambiente, X Municipio del Comune di Roma, Liberi Nantes, Cooperativa Abitus and the backing from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the event is backed by a broad alliance. The game will feature mixed teams and will see the attendance of sporting and other celebrities.
AS Roma captain and Italian legend Francesco Totti gave his support “Certain things should no longer be seen on football pitches. As a human being and citizen, I realise that this is a broader issue, which concerns the whole of our culture. For this event I offer my best wishes to you and to other organisations that are fighting for the respect for all men and women. Yours is an important game and a good fight. “