ROME (Reuters) – Italian soccer will adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to racist fans, using technology to help identify offenders and ban them from stadiums, Serie A bosses said on Tuesday.
The issue of racist slurs at players is in the crosshairs of European football after Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior was assaulted during a weekend match against Valencia in Spain.
“Like society, there is a percentage of racist people in stadiums,” Luigi Di Sirvo, Serie A’s executive director, told reporters.
“Today, with technology and stadium microphones, they can be heard and we can punish them. It is a battle, like a tumor that must be systematically removed, even if it is an outbreak.”
Di Cervo recalled that Italy barred the entry of around 170 Juventus fans who insulted Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku during an Italian Cup semi-final last month, calling it a “zero-tolerance route to racists”.
Di Cervo told reporters at the briefing that the Italian government would invest 10 million euros ($11 million) to promote Serie A abroad, using the sponsorship to support its “Made in Italy” export campaign.
Serie A has lagged behind the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga in terms of purchasing power, and Italian football has been hit by fan violence and other scandals.
Juventus, the most successful club in Italian football, was deducted 10 points on Monday as part of one of the club’s accounting investigations.
However, Di Sirovo said investment by foreign funds in recent years showed Serie A was improving, and the recovery was reflected by Italian clubs’ appearances in three major European finals this season.
In his opinion, the Juventus case relating to transfer accounting shows that Italy is dealing with a problem that affects the whole region.
“We are the only mature country that analyzes the problem and tries to solve it for the future,” he said.
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