FIGC investigate alleged racism by referee aimed at semi-pro footballer30 January 2019

ThescourgeofracisminItalianfootballreareditsuglyheadagainthisweekendafteranotherincidenttookplace,thistimeinItaly’sregionalleagueswhereagoalkeeperwasraciallyabusedandsentoffbyareferee.

Senegalese footballer Gueye Ass Dia was playing in goal for Serino, a team that plays in the Campania regional divisions (Promozione campano), when he is alleged to have been racially abused by the referee before being sent off.

In response to the incident the team president Donato Trotta pulled his team off the field, saying: “I do not allow anyone to trample on the dignity of my players and me.” The goalkeeper Dia had left the field in tears.

The vice president of the Italian football federation (FIGC), Cosimo Sibilia, called for an investigation into the incident. Sibilia is also president of the national amateur leagues (Lega Nazionale Dilletanti), and he described it as a ‘serious incident’ if proven, vowing to ‘combat racism.’

There have been at least eight major incidents of discriminatory and racist abuse aimed at black footballers in Italy in recent months.

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti stated that he would make his players leave the field in future should racist abuse from the terraces persist, after Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off in December during a game against Inter Milan having been the victim of persistent racist abuse from the terraces without sanction.

Inter were eventually ordered to play two home league games behind closed doors and a third without opening the popular fan section known as the ‘curva’.

The Fare network released a statement on this incident which you can read here, and you can watch our short explainer video below for more on the rising levels of racism in Italian football.