Yesterday at one of the most famed temples of the beautiful game, the San Siro echoed with the chants of ignorance.
Racism reared it’s ugly head as Inter Milan and Tottenham played out a thrilling match in the Europa League. With Spurs advancing on away goals rule, chants were directed at their black players, while an Inter fan was seen waving an inflatable banana during the game.
Unfortunately this is not the first time Inter have seen their image tarnished. Just recently they were fined 50,000 euros after their former player, Mario Balotelli was abused during the Milan derby while playing for AC. The Italian league released a statement saying the fine was for ‘screams and chants expressing racial discrimination.’
Inter were also fined for four banners expressing ‘insults towards the player and the opposition team’, while AC Milan were fined about £8,600 for three banners ‘insulting opposition fans and players.’
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas confirmed that the club was aware of the chants during the game while former American number one, Brad Friedel who was in goal for the tie said the following to the Independent newspaper.
The Londoners had also experienced racial taunting when they visited Rome and SS Lazio during the group stages of the tournament.
While the problem is not exclusively an Italian issue, it appears that FIFA, UEFA and the respective leagues around Europe are still content to just give offending clubs a slap on the wrist.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who coaches a number of black players has called for far greater punishment to be handed down including the banning of clubs who fail to punish their fans.
This is an issue that refuses to go away and crosses numerous social issues. It’ll take a brave leader to step up and demand meaningful change.