The Derby della Madonnina is one of the most passionate matches in all of world football. Fans from both sides create an amazing atmosphere that can be both intimidating and uplifting at the same time. However, during Sunday’s match, a section of Inter Milan fans embarrassed themselves and all of Italy by racially abusing AC Milan Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie.
#Inter are handed a suspended stand closure after their fans were found guilty of racially abusing #ACMilan midfielder Franck Kessie https://t.co/z7GHbGawP5 #FCIM pic.twitter.com/nJObm3ME1p— footballitalia (@footballitalia) March 19, 2019
Inter Milan fans in the Curva Nord, where the most hardcore Ultras sit, were heard chanting what the FIGC called “racist expressions” at the midfielder in the 7th and 39th minute of the match.
Inter Milan was forced to play two games behind closed doors earlier in the season after the Curva Nord was found to have racially abused Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The Curva Nord was also banned an extra match because of derogatory chants aimed at Napoli and Napoli fans.
So what punishment was doled out by the FIGC to Inter for racially abusing another player after having played two games behind closed doors for an earlier offense? If you chose “absolutely nothing” then you would be correct. Oh, Inter and the Curva Nord were given a “suspended sentence” and will be closed, but only if there is another incident of racial abuse towards a player this season.
Serie A has a history of problems dealing with racist fans and racially offensive incidents, up to and including anti-Semitic images of Anne Frank by Lazio Ultras towards their rivals AS Roma. These issues, rather than being dealt with by the authorities or by the clubs themselves are often given lip service and swept under the rug.
It’s embarrassing to have to talk about this in 2019, but here we are. To their credit, other Inter Milan fans have criticized the Curva Nord and the racist chants, and have called upon the club to deal with those fans who drag their club through the mud. It’s apparent the FIGC won’t deal with Ultras, so it might be up to the teams to deal with these idiots instead.