Juventus’ Blaise Matuidi hits out over latest Serie A racism incident
Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi has said he hopes he can help lead change after once again being racially abused by fans at a Serie A fixture.
Hellas Verona were last week given a one-year suspended sentence that will see part of their Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi closed if there are any further incidents of racial discrimination after Matuidi was subjected to abuse during Juve’s recent 3-1 win there.
On Saturday, discriminatory chants were once again directed at Matuidi — this time by Cagliari fans — as Juve won 1-0 in Sardinia.
The Lega Serie A’s disciplinary committee is due to announce what punishment Cagliari will be given on Monday, but Matuidi said he hopes that things will soon change for the better in Italian football.
“Today I experienced racism during the match,” Matuidi wrote on his Facebook page. “Weak people try to intimidate with hate. I am not a hater and can only be sorry for those who set bad examples.
“Football is a way to spread equality, passion and inspiration and this is what I am here for. Peace.”
Matuidi added the hashtag #equalgame, which is UEFA’s latest campaign to fight not only racism but all forms of discrimination.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger spent two years being a regular victim of racist chants by opposition fans when he played for Roma, and he said these things “should not still be happening” when asked about it just prior to his move to Stamford Bridge in June.
“You can see so many posters saying ‘No to racism’ but nothing really happens [against it] in Italy,” Rudiger said. “In several games fans have shouted [monkey chants] to me but still nothing has happened. It’s simply incomprehensible for me.”
In October, Lazio saw the Curva Nord of their Stadio Olimpico closed for two games after their fans directed racial chants towards Sassuolo midfielder Claud Adjapong.
Their fans again hit the headlines for leaving stickers of Anna Frank wearing a Roma shirt in the area of the shared stadium where hardcore Roma fans congregate for their club’s home matches.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.