MILAN: The crackdown proposals from world football’s new anti-racism task force were attacked as inadquate by Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri after the latest abusive assault on Mario Balotelli writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Roma have been fined €50,000 by the Italian federation for the misbehaviour of their fans after Sunday’s Serie A clash in the Stadio Olimpico was suspended briefly after a racist outburst at the Milan striker.
The referee halted play early in the second half. In line with guidelines agreed by the Italian federation and the government’s sports security watchdog – and endorsed by world federation FIFA – a warning was issued over the public address system.
A bad tempered game ended in a goalless draw. Milan’s Sulley Muntari and Roma’s veteran captain Francesco Totti were both sent off for separate offences.
Milan were involved in a racist abuse incident in January when their players walked off the pitch during a friendly match in protest at racist abuse aimed at Kevin-Prince Boateng.
After the Roma game Allegri criticised both Italian society and the anti-abuse regulations.
He said: “People should go to the stadium to see two teams battling each other on the pitch, not this sort of thing, it’s a place for the uncivilised. The culture in Italy is backward: tonight we had racism, laser beams flashed in the eyes of players and an interrupted match.”
Allegri added: “Stopping the game doesn’t work, it’s a happy medium and like all happy mediums, it doesn’t do anybody any good. Balotelli was defeated this evening, he gave everything, but he is 22 and subjected more and more to racist chants and that doesn’t do him any good.”
Milan must win their last game to clinch third place and a Champions League playoff spot. They have 69 points from 37 games while Fiorentina have 67. Both teams are away to lowly opponents next Sunday with Milan travelling to Siena and Fiorentina to Pescara.
If they finish level on points, Fiorentina will take third place on having the better head-to-head record.
FIFA president Blatter joined the chorus of concern over events in Rome. He said, via Twitter: “Appalled to read about racist abuse in Serie A. Tackling this issue is complex, but we’re committed to action, not just words.”
Jeff Webb, president of CONCACAF, has been appointed as leader of FIFA’s anti-racism panel which held a first meeting last week.