Milan mayor apologises to Koulibaly over racist insults
The mayor of Milan apologised to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly on Thursday over the racist insults aimed at the Senegalese player by some of the crowd during the Serie A match against Inter Milan at San Siro.
Napoli said on their club website that Koulibaly was subject to “racist chants” during the match, without giving further details, while their coach Carlo Ancelotti said some fans made animal noises throughout the entire game.
“Those jeers at Koulibaly were a disgrace,” wrote the mayor, Giuseppe Sala, on his Facebook page after Wednesday’s match.
“It was a shameful act against a respected athlete, who proudly bears the colour of his skin, and also, to a lesser degree, against the many people who go to the stadium to support their team and be with their friends.”
Koulibaly had been subject to abuse during the game before he was sent off in the 81st minute. He was booked for a foul on Matteo Politano and then given a second yellow card for sarcastically applauding the referee’s original decision.
Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti said that it was the sort of behaviour which was holding back Italian football.
“If 65,000 people come and watch the match at Christmas, they want to see something else,” he said. “We need a change of mentality (if) our objective is to bring our football back to the top in Europe.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, currently the most celebrated player in Serie A, was among those quick to offer supportive messages to Koulibaly on social media.
Juventus’s Portuguese striker posted a picture of himself playing against Koulibaly with a message in Italian: “Education and respect are needed in the world and in football. No to racism and to any offence and discrimination.”
REUTERS/Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ian Chadband