The Roma defender Antonio Rüdiger has pleaded with Fifa to act after another season featuring several high-profile incidents of racism in Serie A.
The German was racially abused by Lazio fans during an Italian Cup game in March, while Pescara’s Sulley Muntari was also targeted at Cagliari and the Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia was called a “shitty Moroccan” live on television.
Rüdiger, who has played for Roma for two seasons after joining from Stuttgart, told Sport Bild: “I take this very seriously because I cannot and must not ignore something like this. I am part of this too. Racism is a serious issue here.
“Incidents like the ones with Benatia and me simply happen too often in this country and that is why something must happen now. When the Italian FA is not doing anything then Fifa must act. It is easy to come up with the ‘No to racism’ campaign but when you don’t do anything concrete then that does not help.”
Muntari was racially abused by Cagliari fans and, to compound things, he was then booked by the referee for reporting the chanting. The Ghanaian then walked off the pitch, an action for which he was initially banned. That suspension was later rescinded.
Benatia, meanwhile, was conducting a live interview with the Italian broadcaster RAI after the 1-1 draw with Torino in May when he heard a technician saying in his ear piece: “What are you saying, shitty Moroccan?” The defender immediately stopped the interview and said: “Who said that? What stupid person is speaking?”
Rüdiger added: “It is easy for people from the outside, who do not have the same skin colour as we do, to say ‘stay calm, don’t listen’. But the thing is, that way things will not change.”
The Italian FA’s established anti-racism campaign – under the slogan “Racism? A Bad Race” – has been repeatedly undermined by the record of the FA’s own president, Carlo Tavecchio.
Tavecchio was sanctioned in 2014 by Fifa and Uefa for referring to a black player as “eating bananas”, and in 2015 he denied being antisemitic or homophobic after he was heard in leaked audio referring to “a lousy Jew” and saying: “I don’t have anything against gays but it’s better to keep them away from me.”
Responding to the Muntari case in May, Tavecchio sought to reassure the public over the FA’s response. “It’s an execrable case. But we’ve sent a clear message [on anti-racism]. Don’t forget that.”