Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala has apologized to Napoli player Kalidou Koulibaly after he was racial insulted during their game against Inter Milan at San Siro on Boxing Day.
The 27-year old, who did not finish the game after landing two bookings, the second for being sarcastic to the referee, said he has proud of his skin and Senegalese roots.
“Those jeers at Koulibaly were a disgrace,” wrote the mayor, Giuseppe Sala, on his Facebook page after the Wednesday’s match.
“It was a shameful act against a respected athlete, who proudly bears the colour of his skin, and also, to a lesser degree, against the many people who go to the stadium to support their team and be with their friends.”
Napoli lost the match by a lone goal scored at stoppage time after Koulibaly had been sent off.
He apologized for letting his teammates down.
“I’m sorry about the defeat and especially to have let my brothers down.
“But I’m proud of the colour of my skin. To be French, Senegalese, Neapolitan and a man.”
Koulibaly’s first yellow card came in the 81st minute after fouling Matteo Politano, the second followed immediately for sarcastically applauding the referee for his earlier decision.
The FARE network, which monitors discrimination in European football, said it was a familiar tale.
“Once again in Italian football. Player is racially abused, referee fails to act, player is angry and gets sent off. The same cycle again and again,” it tweeted.
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti said he called for the game to be stopped three times but authorities did not listen.
He added that next time such an incident occurs he will lead his troops off the field even if it means losing the game.
Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti added that it was the sort of behaviour which was holding back Italian football.
“If 65,000 people come and watch the match at Christmas, they want to see something else,” he said. “We need a change of mentality (if) our objective is to bring our football back to the top in Europe.”
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