Veteran manager Fabio Capello believes players should stage sit-down protests on the pitch and go unpunished for doing so if further incidents of racism occur in Italian football.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was subjected to vile treatment from Inter fans at San Siro on Boxing Day, further exposing a racism issue that has long blighted the country’s game. Koulibaly was later given a red card for dissent in that fixture, sparking more criticism that the victims are punished rather than supported by Serie A.
“The players should sit down on the pitch, and they shouldn’t be punished for doing it,” former AC Milan, Roma, and Juventus overseer Capello told state broadcaster RAI, according to Reuters.
“That would help the fans who are behaving and want to watch football and force those guilty of animal noises to stop and feel ashamed of what they’re doing.”
Napoli handler Carlo Ancelotti vowed to walk his players off the pitch if there was similar racial abuse in the future and blamed Koulibaly’s dismissal and subsequent two-game ban on his frustration at the crowd’s abuse.
Play was temporarily halted in a league match between Lazio and Napoli in February 2016 when Koulibaly was singled out for racism at the Stadio Olimpico. He also received a yellow card later in that fixture.
Capello is confident where the majority of blame should lie for such egregious chants, slurs, and noises.
“Italy is the only place where the ultras run the show and the players go the Curva to wave at them,” he continued.
“Eighty-five to 90 percent of Italian fans are important – not these gentlemen with their banners, slogans, and too much power given to them by the clubs.”