Football: no "antiracism sound radar" for Italy match

The Italian federation hoped to be able to use this new system, Monday night, to identify the authors of racist cries in the stadiums.

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Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Italian Football Federation, wanted to coordinate with the Ministry of the Interior before testing the radar system. Andrew Medichini / AP

It was the great announcement of Gabriele Gravina. On Monday, 21 October, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said he wanted a "passive radar", quickly dubbed "radar against racism", to be tested for the match against Armenia on 18 November, the last match. qualifiers for Euro-2020.

"It's a passive radar provided by the antiterrorism which captures the origin of a noise with directional microphones", he explained then. "It can flush out live a person who utters a racist cry," he assured, without giving more details. "Just two panels per sector, the cost is not excessive, it is an Italian company that produces it. "

Racism in the stadiums is a scourge that Italy is struggling to get rid of. The subject returned to the fore after insults against Mario Balotelli in early November, during a match between Hellas Verona and Brescia.

Read also Reasoned victim of racist cries, footballer Balotelli threatens to leave the field during a match in Italy

Since the beginning of the season, the Belgian Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), the Ivorian Franck Kessié (AC Milan), the Brazilian Dalbert (Fiorentina) or the English Ronaldo Vieira (Sampdoria Genoa) have been victims of cries of monkeys . Without the sanctions – if there were any – put a brake on the crisis.

Experimentation not yet validated

While the authorities' declarations of intent to combat racism in the stadiums are common – but often not followed – the president of the Italian federation has surprised many observers in the world of football.

"I had never heard of a similar device, ensures World Cyril Dubois, lawyer of several Parisian supporters. I believe this has never been set up in a stadium so far. "

But what was to be a first in the world of football will not finally take place in Palermo on Monday night. "The authorization process announced by the president is underway, but has not been validated yet", says a spokesman for the Italian federation, joined Monday ..

The procedure was started a while ago, but apparently takes longer than expected. According to the Italian daily Il Messaggero, the Italian federation already wanted to experiment with this system in October, during a match between Italy and Greece.

FIGC now expects a response for the month of December.

Attacks on privacy

Representatives of the Italian Ministry of the Interior must validate the implementation of this mechanism. And especially check that there will be no invasion of privacy. Contacted, they did not answer our questions.

The breaches of privacy, it is what Gabriele Gravina feared at the time of its announcement, three weeks ago: " There is just the barrier of confidentiality because the radar can listen to private conversations at the stadium He minimized.

"Any idea that would eradicate racism or identify people is good to take. But that we can listen to everyone's conversations in the stadium, this poses a real problem ", advance master Dubois. If you can no longer have a conversation with your neighbor or friend without being listened to, it becomes worrying. This is the principle of privacy. Even if we do not do anything wrong, we do not necessarily want our conversations to be heard. "

Football supporters and fans should not be the only ones to worry about the introduction of such a device in stadiums if these conditions were not respected beforehand. As the lawyer reminds us, in recent years, stadiums (through the administrative prohibitions of presence in tribunes or travel) have often served as a laboratory for attempts to restrict individual freedoms.

Read also Contrasting balance sheet of the stadium administrative ban


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