After Racial Taunts, Team Slaps Fan With Lifetime Ban

Italian soccer club will keep trying to identify any other 'evil people'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2024 4:35 PM CST
Updated Jan 22, 2024 6:05 PM CST
FIFA President: Racial Taunts Should Bring Automatic Forfeit
Referee Enzo Maresca, eighth from left; match officials, right; and Udinese's players gather as the Italian Serie A soccer match between Udinese and AC Milan is suspended on Saturday after fans chanted racial slurs.   (Andrea Bressanutti/LaPresse via AP)
UPDATE Jan 22, 2024 6:05 PM CST

A soccer club in Italy has identified a fan who shouted racial abuse at a player during a match and barred him from its games for life. Udinese said in a statement that it will keep working with police and stadium security to identify anyone else involved, the AP reports. "There were one, two, three evil people, and this is enough for it to be a very serious thing," the team's general manager had said earlier in the day. "We believe that such strong measures are necessary to send a clear message that racism has no place in football or society," the team's statement said. Udinese, which said any others involved will face similar sanctions, could find out whether a sporting judge has decided to penalize the club on Tuesday.

Jan 21, 2024 4:35 PM CST

Responding to taunts that drove AC Milan's goalkeeper off the field on Saturday, the president of FIFA called Sunday for automatic forfeits to be assessed to teams whose fans yell racial chants at players. Gianni Infantino described the abuse directed at Mike Maignan as "totally abhorrent," CBS Sports reports, in calling for a policy change by world soccer's governing body. "We have to implement an automatic forfeit for the team whose fans have committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned," Infantino posted on X, "as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists."

Maignan, whose teammates went into the tunnel with him to pause the match in Italy, also addressed the issue Sunday. He said he went to the referee first, per Reuters. "I said we cannot play football like this," the goalkeeper told Sky Sports Italy. "Talking no longer does anything," Maignan said in also urging strong sanctions. In a post on X, he addressed those who stood by during the abuse. "The perpetrators of these acts, because it is easy to act in a group in the anonymity of a platform, the spectators who were in the stand, who saw everything, who heard everything but who chose to remain silent, you are complicit," Maignan wrote. (More FIFA stories.)

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