December 28, 2018 / 2:01 PM / 3 months ago

"That's enough," says Inter coach Spalletti, after racism and violence

MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti said on Friday it was time to say “Enough” to racism and hatred in soccer following incidents before and during Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Napoli.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v Napoli - San Siro, Milan, Italy - December 26, 2018 Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Inter fans made animal noises and racist chants at Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly during the match, while one fan was killed when he was hit by a car during a violent clash near the stadium before kickoff.

Other coaches also condemned the incidents although they had differing opinions on how to stop the problem.

Inter, who visit Empoli on Saturday, have been ordered to play their next two home games behind closed doors because of the incidents involving Koulibaly.

“I condemn (what happened) with no ifs and buts,” Spalletti told a news conference.

“It’s the moment to say ‘Enough’ to hatred in football, ‘Enough’ to racism and any form of discrimination in the stadium,” he said.

“‘Enough’ to those who celebrate the Heysel or Superga disasters,” he added, referring to the Brussels tragedy in which 39 people, mostly Juventus fans, died in 1985, and the 1949 air crash where Torino players and officials were among the 31 dead.

“‘Enough’ to jeering a coach or a player for 90 minutes... ‘Enough’ to hatred in football in general. That is the main thing.”

Spalletti said that Inter were “with Koulibaly, as we are at the side of all those who are targeted during the games”.

“It’s very disappointing not to play in front of our own crowd but, if it’s the price we have to pay to win this battle, we’ll do it willingly,” he added.

AS Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco agreed with Napoli’s Carlo Ancelotti, who said on Wednesday that his team will walk off the pitch if there is a repeat of the incident.

“I fully agree with what he says,” he said. “If the state cannot deal with the problem, then it is up to us to give an important response.”

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso also backed Ancelotti.

“We just need to have the courage to do it,” he said. “If the coach has the courage, then it becomes easier for everyone else.

“But this isn’t just a problem in our country, because I’ve seen bananas thrown into the pitch in others.”

EDUCATION NEEDED

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, however, said he did not believe that stopping matches was the answer.

“I don’t tolerate any form of racism or insults about tragedies and deaths, but we should not stop games,” he said.

“We need to educate children when they start school. And we, presidents, coaches and players, need to be aware that our words carry weight and influence people. We must be more responsible.”

Former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri, now with English Premier League side Chelsea, remembered that two matches were interrupted because of racist incidents when he was in charge of the team.

“I’m really very sorry for Kalidou because he is a wonderful man,” he said. “I’m sorry for him but I think in Italy we can do something more about this problem.”

Reporting by Brian Homewood; additional reporting by Hardik Vyas; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Christian Radnedge

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