Several high-profile incidents of racism from supporters have occurred this season in Serie A, and the lack of accountability and consequences for both the clubs and their supporters brings shame to every other club and fan in Italy. While a majority of fans across Italy do not participate in this abhorrent behavior, the response, or lack their of, to the fans that do participate in racist acts send a message that racism is tolerated, if not encouraged, among fans of Serie A.
The recent ruling by Lega Serie A against Lazio is an absolute farce. A suspended sentence was also given to Inter Milan after their fans racially abused Milan’s Franck Kessie, despite Inter having to play behind closed doors because of racially abusing Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly earlier in the season.
The league confirmed that 90 percent of the 4,049 Lazio supporters in the away end at the San Siro took part in these racist chants. That's a lot of people doing awful things. And yet Serie A and the FIGC have give them another chance. Despicable. We need ZERO tolerance.— Anthony Lopopolo (@sportscaddy) April 29, 2019
Lazio fans have a long history of racist and anti-Semitic behavior, so it is extremely unsurprising for those fans to be involved in racial abuse of Milan’s Tiémoué Bakayoko and Kessie. The authorities even noted that 90% of the visiting fans were estimated to have participated in the abuse against the two black Milan players.
However, instead of treating them as the repeat offenders that they are, instead Legia Serie A merely told them to not do it again, with no punishment. Of course Lazio fans will do it again, and again, there will be very little to no consequences for their actions.
Even “Old Lady” of Italian football, Juventus, is apparently not immune to having their black players endure racist abuse. Moise Kean, the brilliant teenage striker, was not only abused by fans at Cagliari, his manager and captain refused to back him up. Massimiliano Allegri said afterwords that Kean shouldn’t have wound up the crowd, although they appeared to be wound up by his being black, and his captain, Leonardo Bonucci said it was Kean’s fault for celebrating while black. And while Bonucci walked his statements back, the damage was still done. There still has not been any discipline announced towards Cagliari
The behavior by the Italian footballing authorities appallingly terrible. No player in the year of our Lord 2019 should have to face racist abuse or monkey grunts or thrown bananas or whatever else racist idiots can dream up while playing football. None. The fact that this abuse still exists only brings shame to Italian football and football everywhere. And while other leagues also have problems with racist behavior from hooligans and supporter groups, Serie A’s high profile makes it all the more disgusting.
As fans of Serie A, the incidents embarrass us because we partake in a league that shows it does not taking fighting racism or racist behavior seriously. Pressure from UEFA is all well and good, but if fans start showing their displeasure towards the clubs that are repeat offenders, perhaps then the clubs will start to care.
Simply put, the reaction from the people in charge of Italian football to racist behavior of fans is inadequate at best and at worst is tacit encouragement of the racist behavior. When Atalanta can get a fine of €7,000 for a firework being thrown onto the pitch while in the same notice Lazio fans are given a “suspended sentence” for racist abuse, it is easy to see which kinds of players and fans are worthy of protection and those that are not in the eyes of Serie A.