UEFA 'very concerned' about failure to follow guidelines to stop racist chanting

UEFA 'very concerned' about failure to follow guidelines to stop racist chanting
Kalidou Koulibaly.

UEFA says it is "very concerned" by what it sees as the failure to follow its guidelines for dealing with racist chanting after Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly was the target of abuse during a match at Inter Milan.

In a joint statement with FIFPro, the organisation which represents professional footballers worldwide, UEFA questioned the apparent "failure to respect the widely-recognised three-step anti-racism protocol" and also urged the Italian football authorities to do all they can to clamp down on racist abuse in stadiums.

Under the three-step process, the referee can, in the event of racist chanting, first halt the match and ask for an announcement to be made over the tannoy for it to stop. If it continues, the referee can suspend the match, request another announcement and wait for the chanting to stop. If it still persists, the referee can, as a last resort, abandon the match.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has ordered Inter to play two Serie A games behind closed doors and a third without the section of their San Siro home generally filled with the hardcore 'ultras', but that punishment has been criticised as too lenient by anti-discrimination group Fare.

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti wanted the game at Inter suspended because of the treatment of Koulibaly, who was sent off late on for sarcastically applauding the referee after a caution. Inter, who have also condemned the abuse the Senegal international suffered, went on to win 1-0.

UEFA and FIFPro said they welcomed the "prompt actions" taken by the FIGC, but added: "(We) are very concerned by this unacceptable racist incident and by what appears on the surface to be a failure to respect the widely-recognised three-step anti-racism protocol.

"Koulibaly, a French-Senegalese defender, was subject to racist chanting and, despite announcements made by the stadium speaker, the chants did not stop. Moreover, it seems that Napoli's coaching staff had already informed the referee several times of racist chants.

"Both organisations are of the opinion that the racist chants towards Koulibaly, who had to leave the pitch after receiving a second yellow card, are unacceptable and have no place in football.

"FIFPro and UEFA support the Italian football authorities on any additional measure that will be taken to tackle racism in stadia for which FIFPro and UEFA have a zero-tolerance policy."

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