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FIFA chief urges Italy to crack down on racism in football after abuse halts match

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FIFA chief urges Italy to crack down on racism in football after abuse halts match
Dalbert, the Fiorentina defender subjected to racist abuse by Atalanta fans. File photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
11:01 CEST+02:00
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Sunday the problem of racism in Italian football has "not improved" after a Serie A match between Atalanta and Fiorentina was halted for several minutes because of racist abuse of Brazilian Dalbert.

Fiorentina defender Dalbert, 26, asked the referee to halt play after half an hour at the Stadio Ennio Tardini until a warning statement was read out by the stadium speaker to jeers and whistles from the Atalanta fans.

Play resumed after three minutes with visitors Fiorentina leading 1-0 after a goal from Federico Chiesa.

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"In Italy the situation has not improved and this is serious," Infantino, in Italy ahead of the FIFA Best Awards on Monday, told the Italian Rai2 channel.

"Racism is fought through education, condemning it, talking about it, we cannot accept racism in society and in football. We have to identify those responsible and throw them out of the stadiums, we need clear sentences, as in England, we must not be afraid to condemn the racists, we must fight them to the end."

Since the beginning of the season, Inter Milan's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and AC Milan's Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie have been targeted by monkey cries during league games without any sanction being taken.

Last season, Blaise Matuidi, Kalidou Koulibaly and Moise Kean were also victims of the problem, which has been recurring for years in Italy.

 
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