With Serial Serie A champs Juventus reaching their second final in three years in the continents elite club competition, this should be the best of times for Italian football. But it is not.
After years of dormancy on the continent and living on the past glory of the Milanese sides, Juve seem ready to conquer Europe. They stand a strong chance of lifting the Champions League title against Real Madrid this year.
With the success, Italian club football is witnessing, there is this dark cloud of racism, even though it is 2017 already. Ghana midfielder SulleyMuntari recently walked off in anger and disgust at Cagliari, citing racial abuse.
Almost two weeks after, the culprits are yet to be brought to book and no action taken against the Sardinian club. The African was rather penalized as he could not convince the referee to suspend the match. His response to the crowd jeer earned him a warning and then walking off a second yellow card thus an automatic one match ban.
Upon an appeal and protest by international player’s union and UN humanrights agency, the ban was overturned. Muntari said he felt like “a criminal,” blasting the governing bodies for paying lip service to the racism they claim so much to fight.
A Moroccan defender for JuveMedhiBenatia recently stopped a TV interview as he heard someone racially abused him. The culture of never punishing culprits sends a wrong signal that would and is affecting Italian football.
The criteria of ‘loud’ or obvious signs of abuse make the sanctions in the Serie A almost never enforceable. When they are enforced, fines are the preferred penalties. Clubs are not held accountable for failing to provide culprits and racial abuse laws require a positive identification of the suspect – requirements that make the laws almost not valid.
Those incidences can never happen in the Premier League because of antecedence and the strong stance of the admin. In junior leagues, the Serie B to the top flight, there are documented cases of racial abuse in Italy and it is bad for football.