In a few days’ time, the first Milan derby aka Derby della Madonnina will take place in Milan. Since the 2019 season began, almost each MatchDay has featured one major clash.
• Round 1: Fiorentina vs. Napoli
• Round 2: Juventus vs. Napoli & the Roman derby
• Round 3: nothing to see here
With the influx of new players and managers, it’s not been business as usual in the Serie A so far. Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan currently lead the table thanks to their 100% record. Sampdoria can’t seem to win. Napoli have scored an average of three goals per game.
Regardless, the league makes for good reading until you take a glance at the flip side of the coin.
- Sept. 4: Inter Milan fans tell Lukaku monkey chants in Italy are not racist
- Sept. 16: Italian pundit is fired for racist on-air comments
- Sept. 17: Cagliari cleared of racist chanting towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku
In case you’ve been living under a rock, these headlines have made football (calcio) more popular in Italy in recent days. Racism in football (Italian edition) picked up from where it stopped last season.
Remember Moise Kean? Remember how Bonucci reacted to the youngster’s goal celebration?
Well, Romelu Lukaku has had a baptism of fire. When your own supporters underplay an act of racism, then there’s serious trouble. It further gets worse when you think of how the authorities are dealing with racism in football in the country.
It’s so easy to bandy racist comments in Italian football today. That’s why a professional pundit will think it’s okay to use such words. And more importantly, that’s why a team like Cagliari (notorious for their racism in football) will be cleared of the racist accusations levelled at them.
If this is a way to increase attention for Italian football, it’s surely working. Not a day goes by without the Serie A being in the news these days. However, to what end?
Not all publicity is good publicity.
So the Italian FA have decided not to take action against the Cagliari fans who racially abused Lukaku. However, the club have been fined for the same fans throwing plastic bottles onto the pitch. A depressingly accurate summary of the response to racism in the game we love.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) September 17, 2019
Not only will fans be watching more Serie A games just to look out for racism in football. More importantly, the league has a bad tag already (a tag that has now been existing for so long). You wonder how the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah survived.
It must have been an onslaught!
This ugly snake keeps raring its head every now and then. An animal that should have been sacrificed to the gods of football is being kept in an Italian museum. It’s constantly being fed. And every once in a while, it comes out to play, roughly.
"The only way to stop him is to say, here are ten bananas that you can eat."
A pundit on Italian TV was immediately suspended following racist comments he made on-air regarding Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku…
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 16, 2019
Fiorentina completely dominated the game against Juventus on MatchDay3. The Old Lady only had more possession and committed more fouls. Everything else was all Fiorentina – including Franck Ribery and Kevin Prince Boateng; not forgetting Federico Chiesa and Erick Pulgar.
The league is still very young. However, this podcast episode discusses the obvious: how Juventus may have slipped in what’s to be one of the tightest title races in Italy in years.
Off the pitch, Italian club football’s romance with racism in football will only make the giant bleed faster. Furthermore, the inability to find culprits will rid the league of the diversity it requires to thrive.
What do you think? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts with me.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.