Italy: A beautiful football culture that remains rotten with racism

For decades Italian football stadiums have been hostile places for Black players; overt racism takes place every week. This season alone, and we are only at the halfway point, Fare has noted or directly observed 36 incidents involving Italian clubs.

The latest high-profile incident involving a walk-off by Mike Maignan and his AC Milan team-mates reflects the failure to come to terms with a systemic issue that shows little sign of being addressed.

Given the repeated racism that occurred when they returned, the match should have been abandoned by the referee.

The governance of Italian football on issues of racism is confused and the measures being taken are not fit for purpose. A wholesale change in approach is needed.

Whatever sanction is given to Udinese it is unlikely to be enough to act as deterrent to others to stop doing the same next week, next month, or next year.

Italian football can learn from so many others, the fact that it has failed to do so so far is an indictment on its leadership and governance at all levels.

Our call to the Italian FA, Legia Serie A and government bodies is to implement the rules effectively, educate supporters, and bring about respect for all.

The price to be paid by Italian football is continued decline and to be forever seen as the place of a beautiful football culture that remains rotten with racism.

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