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Football: Cagliari go unpunished for racist abuse by fans

Serie A club Cagliari will not be punished for racist chanting by their fans against Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi, the Italian league said on Tuesday.

Football: Cagliari go unpunished for racist abuse by fans
Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Matuidi revealed after Juve's 1-0 win in Sardinia on Saturday that he had been the subject of racist chanting, with Cagliari issuing an apology to the 30-year-old French player the following day.

But Lega Serie A's disciplinary report released on Tuesday found that “no determination can be made with regard to Cagliari for the deplorable expressions of racial discrimination of which Juventus player Blaise Matuidi reports he was the subject”.

“No sanction can be brought [because] those expressions were not heard by either the match referee nor by [Italian football federation] FIGC employees, nor filed in the match report.”

After hearing abuse from the stands Matuidi rushed to referee Giampaolo Calvarese, but the official ignored his pleas to intervene and Medhi Benatia and Paulo Dybala had to calm their teammate down.

Matuidi was born in France to an Angolan father and a Congolese mother.

Saturday's abuse follows similar racist chants directed at Matuidi during Juve's 3-1 win at Verona late last month, for which Verona were fined €20,000 by the Italian league.

Elsewhere Napoli were fined €15,000 on Tuesday after fans threw firecrackers at visiting Verona fans in last weekend's game, with Roma fined €10,000 for throwing objects onto the pitch, and an additional €3,000 for Atalanta's coaching staff having a laser light shone in their direction.

Atalanta were also fined €5,000 after their coach Gian Piero Gasperini relayed instructions to his coaching staff having been banished to the stands.

FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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