In a context of liberation of the racist speech in Italy, and financial difficulties of many clubs, the governing bodies are not very reactive to the overflows on the part of the supporters.
It is a sad repetition in Serie A. In twelve days of Italian championship, a dozen racist incidents have been listed. Each time, the same dynamic is at work: protests of the victim team, denials of incriminated pleading irony or exaggeration … Deprived of a true code of conduct in the face of these events that multiply (or meet more and more echo, according to the interpretations), the authorities governing the Calcio sail on sight, react piecemeal, with more or less severity, according to the seriousness of the infraction and the balance of power.
Most of the time, players of African descent of Serie A are the first target. And first and foremost, the most prominent players. The tone was given on the second day, the 1stst September, with the racist cries against the Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, just arrived at Inter Milan from the English club Manchester United, and discovered on his first trip to Cagliari (Sardinia), the rough realities of football Italian. In the Sardegna Arena where, last season, Frenchman Blaise Matuidi and young Italian hopeful Moise Kean had been the victims of racist attacks, the Belgian international suffered the same cries of support from the Curva Nord, while he was preparing to take a penalty kick.
Some clubs have to deal with a fascist mythology well anchored in the cultural practices of its ultra
After the match, Lukaku made an appeal to "Unite" towards the players, encouraging the federation to "React". This attitude earned him an angry response … supporters of his team, who, in a statement, took the defense of Cagliari ultras against their own player, pleading cultural incomprehension.
Called to rule, two weeks after the fact, on these howls attested by many recordings diffused on the social networks, the sports judges of the federation preferred not to prevail, considering that these cries could not be regarded as discriminatory in terms of "Volume and actual perception". The Cagliari club will be fined 5,000 euros for … jets of plastic bottle on the ground.
"Ironic supporters, not racist"
After such a demonstration of helplessness of the federation, no wonder that the incidents have multiplied in the stadiums of Serie A, since the beginning of the season 2019-2020. Similarly, it is not surprising that Mario Balotelli, ex-child prodigy of Italian football career tormented, returned to Italy to wear the colors of the club of the city where he grew up, Brescia, do, too, the bitter experience. It was during a match against Hellas Verona, on 3 November, that the international (36 caps) had to undergo racist attacks. Protests, interruption of the game, call for calm at the microphone of the stadium, the meeting ended in an electric atmosphere. And the post-match was hardly more serene, the president of Hellas Verona FC, Maurizio Setti, judging good to say, at the end of the match, that he had seen "Ironic supporters, not racist".
Often called into question for the racist excesses of his supporters, Hellas Verona was forced to make an example. So he decided to ban from stage until 2030 Luca Castellini, one of the leaders of his ultra (also a member of the group fascist Forza Nuova), who had denied any racism in the cries against Balotelli on the grounds that "We also have a ghostwriter on the team. Yesterday he scored and the whole city applauded, before stating that Mario Balotelli, born to Ghanaian parents and naturalized to 18, "Could never be totally Italian".
"Balotelli is the last of my concerns, really the last. A worker from the ILVA steel mill is worth more than ten Balotelli ", Matteo Salvini
Beyond these two cases, many other clubs face, on a daily basis, groups of supporters who willingly practice racist insults, as a means to destabilize the opponent. So fans of Brescia Mario Balotelli have they earned their club to be sanctioned after they shouted "Gypsy shit! " for Bosnian international Miralem Pjanic (Juventus Turin).
Some clubs, first and foremost Lazio Rome, must also deal with a fascist mythology firmly rooted in the cultural practices of his ultras. They can all the less engage the showdown that the influxes in the stadiums are weak, and that many clubs are in very poor financial health.
Finally, the liberation of the racist speech observed throughout society in favor of the spectacular rise of Matteo Salvini, can not be without effect. The political leader of the League, moreover, did not hesitate to give his opinion in the controversy. When asked about the Verona incident, he replied: "Balotelli is the last of my concerns, really the last. A worker of the ILVA (the giant steel mill in Taranto threatened with closure) worth more than ten Balotelli. You have to condemn racism, but you do not need a guy who is clever. "