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Italy: Udinese supporter suspended for life for racist insults

Italy: Udinese supporter suspended for life for racist insults
Referee Fabio Maresca talks to AC Milan's Mike Maignan during   -  
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Andrea Bressanutti/LaPresse


Serie A club Udinese have identified the fan who verbally attacked AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan and banned him for life, while promising to do the same for other " malicious people" , as Calls for tougher sanctions have been launched by the authorities following another weekend where Italian football matches were overshadowed by misconduct by supporters.

Maignan left the pitch during Saturday's Serie A match at Udinese after being subjected to what he later said were monkey noises . The 28-year-old goalkeeper was joined by his teammates and the match was suspended for around five minutes before they returned and Milan won 3-2.

“In a joint effort with local law enforcement and using Bluenergy Stadium security cameras, Udinese Calcio identified the first individual responsible for the discriminatory behavior towards AC Milan player Mike Maignan ,” the statement said. Udinese in a statement on Monday.

"This person will be banned for life from attending any Udinese Calcio match. This ban takes effect immediately. We believe such harsh measures are necessary to send a clear message: racism has no place in the football nor in society."

The decision of the Italian sports judge on Udinese's sanction is expected on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Lazio were punished with a partial stadium closure for racist chants against Romelu Lukaku .

Authorities can also issue orders - known as Daspo - banning certain people from stadiums for up to five years.

"We are working to find those responsible, there can only be two or three people. There were no chants, in the sense that they were not heard by the referee or the prosecution "There were one, two, three malicious people, and that's enough for it to be a profoundly serious thing ," Udinese general director Franco Collavino said on Monday, before the first supporter is identified.

"We have already started looking at the images from the stadium cameras, we also have to listen to the audio. ... A Daspo has a limited duration, but the club can decide to ban a supporter from entering the stadium for a period of time. longer period. We will strive to exclude them from the stadium forever, for life . "

Maignan received widespread support from the football world following the abuse and issued a statement on Sunday calling on authorities to take tougher action. His position was supported by Umberto Calcagno , the president of the Italian players' association.

“Fighting this form of ignorance is very difficult, but today it is possible thanks to the rules of the federation, like what happened on Saturday ,” Calcagno said. _"There was great collaboration between Mike Maignan, the referee, and the players._ But the regulations also allow the public authorities to decide to definitively suspend the match. ... Today, it is necessary to sanction these facts in a more severe manner .

There is already a three-step procedure whereby a match can be stopped twice before being abandoned, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino suggested this weekend that any team whose supporters commit racial violence at against the players is automatically declared forfeited.

“If the FIFA president thinks that this idea can be transformed into a rule, he can do it, we will adapt to the guiding principles suggested by FIFA ,” said the president of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina. "Stopping a match is a strong message, but abandoning a football match with thousands of fans in the stadium is a public order problem, it does not depend on us and we do not want replace those who have the task, duty and right to manage public order."

For years, numerous racist incidents have occurred in Italian and European football. In Italy, Kevin-Prince Boateng , Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku , among others, were victims of these incidents.

Mr Calcagno said half of the abuse football players receive is racist in nature, but Saturday's incident at Udinese was not the only notable episode in Serie A over the weekend.

A potentially dangerous moment in Salerno turned into a lighter one when Salernitana fans threw objects at Genoa players who were celebrating Mateo Retegui's equalizer.

Retegui caused concern when he fell to the ground after being hit by an object. It turned out to be a chocolate snack and teammate Kevin Strootman reacted by picking it up, eating it and mockingly thanking the audience. Genoa then won 2-1.

"We celebrated the game in front of their fans, they threw a few things, but that happens in football, no one got hurt so that's good ," Strootman said.

More worryingly, a piece of cement was also thrown from the stands. It didn't hit anyone but was handed to the referee and Salernitana could also be punished on Tuesday.

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