Chiellini: Racism must be eradicated

The Juventus centre-back has called for racist chanting and violence in stadiums to be stamped out from both the game and society at large

Juventus defender Giorgo Chiellini has urged authorities to eradicate the problem of racism in football.

The issue has reared its head once more in Italy this year, with AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng walking off in a friendly match against Pro Patria in January after he was on the receiving end of racist insults before Mario Balotelli reportedly clashed with Fiorentina fans while boarding a train after Milan’s 2-1 win over Siena on May 19.

Chiellini has called for the problem to be stamped out once and for all, but feels that the decision to walk off the pitch in the face of such abuse should be taken by the match officials, rather than the players.

“Racism should be eliminated and racist chanting should not be accepted,” Chiellini told reporters.

“We cannot make the decision to go off the pitch because everyone has said, referees included, they are there to make decisions on that matter for us and we need to follow their decisions.

“I think we need to make a distinction between racism and personal insults, which rightly or wrongly are always present and always will be. Everyone has a target, a Milan player might hate a particular Juventus player or an Inter player, but racism must not go on in the stadiums.

“We are really determined to defeat the problem of racism and violence in the stadium, it would be great to defeat those problems, not only sport and football but in our everyday lives.”

The problem also surfaced in European competition earlier this season, with Lazio being forced to play Europa League matches behind closed doors after supporters were found guilty of repeated racist chants during matches.

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