Italian Football Federation takes rigid steps to fight racism

Italian Football Federation takes rigid steps to fight racism

Footballers are now directed to gather in the middle of the pitch in case of racist cries. And in case of repeated incident of the same kind, they will have to return to the dressing room. 

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced a simplification and tightening of the procedure implemented in case of racist cries in the stadiums, after the complications caused by recent incidents. From now on, in the event of such cries or racist behaviour reported by the federal delegates or law enforcement officials, the match will be immediately stopped temporarily and the players must gather in the middle of the field. An announcement will then be made by the stadium announcer. Upon a second warning, players will return to the changing rooms and a security official will then decide whether to call off the game.

Real football can triumph

Previously, the suspension of the match could intervene only after three announcements made by the speaker. The president of the Italian federation Gabriele Gravina recalled that

“The hypothesis of a suspension created a prejudice of image for the Italian football and for the true supporters.”

“Responsibilities must be individual and not collective, but something must be done so that real football can triumph, and we have to go beyond these incidents with a healthy supporter,” Gravina said in a statement from the FIGC.

New rules are ‘wise’

Raffaele Cantone, the chief of Italy’s anti-corruption agency, said the new rules were ‘wise’.

“What happened to Koulibaly was scandalous. I’m convinced that if the referee calls players to the centre of the pitch, maybe [the racism] will stop. But you also need a burst of pride from the other spectators to show they have nothing to do with these idiots.”

Racism and hooliganism have long infected Italian football. In recent years the Italy international Mario Balotelli has been a persistent target of abuse. Italian football hooligans, knowns as ultras, tend to be well-organised, extremely violent and racist. Last year Daniele De Santis, a notorious ultra, was jailed for 16 years for the murder of a Napoli fan, Ciro Esposito, before the 2014 Italian Cup final game against Fiorentina.

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The most recent: Kalidou Koulibaly

Image Credit: AP

On December 26, the French-Senegalese defender of Naples, Kalidou Koulibaly, was targeted by monkey chants several times during a match played in Milan against Inter, especially at the time of his expulsion for a second yellow card.
After the match, however, Ancelotti was focused on the treatment his star defender received from the San Siro crowd.

“There was a strange atmosphere, as we asked three times for play to be suspended, they had announcements with the speaker three times,” the Napoli manager said.

“Koulibaly was certainly irritable. Usually, he is very calm and professional, but he was subjected to monkey noises throughout the game,” Ancelotti added.

“We asked three times for some action to be taken, but the match continued. We keep being told play can be halted, but when? After four or five announcements?”

A recurring phenomenon in Italian football, the cries of monkey that targeted Koulibaly at the San Siro stadium rarely give rise to other punishments than fines or stadium closures or suspended tribunes. But this time, Inter had been punished more harshly to stop these types of unwanted incidents inside the stadium.

Football: Human Race, the only race that should matter


195 countries, 7.6 Billion people and 6,500 spoken languages. The World is so diverse, and each Nation is different than the last, the only thing we have in common is that we’re all part of the Human Race. Finding things that unite the World as one are hard to come by but Football comes pretty damn close and has proved itself as a true Global Unifier.

The prime example of this can be seen in the French Football team. France has had a dark history with Race and Discrimination going all the way back to 1315, but we aren’t going to delve into that, let’s stick to Football. The French National team comprises of players from over 13 different ethnic origins ranging from Ivory Coast to Germany. 

It wasn’t any of these 13 Nations that won the World Cup; it was France that one it. There is one thing that we have to observe here, a lot of these players were immigrants and the likes of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba are first-generation immigrants i.e. Their parents immigrated to France. Frenchmen whose parents immigrated to France from Mali and Guinea became such big players and irrespective of their color and origin. This is bound to unite the Country and be more accepting of French citizens with different ethnic backgrounds. 

Racism and Discrimination are ugly realities of our World and bringing Football into the conversation may not be ideal, but it exists even there.

Romelu Lukaku is probably one of the most improved strikers in the Modern-game. For most players, a bad run of games for your country can be accounted to bad form, injury concerns or even tactical adjustment. In Lukaku’s case, the fact that he is a player of Congolese descent seems to come up pretty often. 

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Racial discrimination exists and cannot be solved overnight. But I think the fact that Kylian Mbappe the French player and not Kylian Mbappe of Algerian Player is remembered, We’re on the right track.

World Cup winner Mesut Ozil quits the German National team

Mesut Ozil quits the German National team

In a shocking move, 2014 World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has announced retirement from the national team citing racist treatment as the reason. The 29-year-old midfielder has pointed hands at DFB’s president Reinhard Grindel in particular.

Further, Ozil has released a number of statements on Social media regarding his decision of quitting from the national team.

Also, the midfielder has addressed several problems that have happened in the recent past, including the photo he took with the Turkish president Recep Erdogan.

The photo with Erdogan has caused a wide-spread chaos and hatred amongst the Germans for the midfielder.

However, much against the public outrage, the midfielder has openly released a statement. In the statement, Ozil has answered all the questions that have been raised in the recent times.

Ozil’s open letter:

Ozil opened the letter with the statement addressing to the DFB’s president writing “To you, Reinhard Grindel, I am disappointed but not surprised by your actions.”

Further, he wrote “In 2004 whilst you were a German member of Parliament, you claimed that “multiculturalism is, in reality, a myth [and] a lifelong lie” whilst you voted against legislation for dual-nationalities and punishments for bribery, as well as saying that Islamic culture has become too ingrained in many German cities.”

The Arsenal midfielder, with much anguish and anger, added that this sort of treatment was unforgivable and unforgettable. Ozil also added that the treatment that he received made him take such a drastic decision, with the midfielder not wanting to wear the German jersey until this problem in the board is solved.

Further disappointment for the German midfielder:

Ozil said, ” I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”

The Arsenal No.10 felt more anguished when the high-ranking DFB officials pointed fingers at his meeting with the Turkish president. He said, “When high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough.”

Ozil concluded his statement by saying “That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted.”