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May 21, 2019
Cyprus Mail
European football Sport

Serie A could be suspended after Boxing Day violence

Napoli complained about racist chanting aimed at their Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly, one of two players sent off in a stormy finish to Wednesday's game

Serie A could be suspended following the ugly scenes that marred Inter Milan’s fixture against Napoli, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

One fan died outside the San Siro after a collision with a van or SUV and four others were injured in separate incidents, while there were allegations of racist chanting inside the stadium towards Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Gravina said in quotes published by Corriere dello Sport: “Suspend the championship? I do not know, the news is still too fresh. It’s something we’ll consider.

“Now we need to take a moment and coordinate ourselves: we have a problem of public order and as such it must be managed, as well as the fact of playing or not.

“What happened is very bad. The referee will write what it is, if he has made some mistakes he will be evaluated too.

“I’m not a psychologist, but it’s clear that some of the players were very nervous at San Siro.”

Deputy Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Twitter: “In 2018 you can not die for a football match.

“At the beginning of the year I will convene the leaders of supporters of Serie A and B clubs… so that the stadiums and the surrounding area will once again become a place of fun and not of violence.”

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti wanted the game at Inter suspended because of the abuse Senegal international Koulibaly was allegedly subjected to.

With nine minutes left, Koulibaly was dismissed for sarcastically applauding the referee after a caution, and substitute Lautaro Martinez went on to score a late goal that handed Inter a 1-0 win.

“It’s a shame because twice we asked for the match to be suspended for the racist chanting towards Koulibaly,” Ancelotti told the club’s official website.

“It shook him – he’s a good-mannered player and he was bombarded by the stadium. Despite our requests and the chanting, the game wasn’t suspended. I think it should have been. Next time we’ll stop playing ourselves.

“It was impossible for him to be calm – he cares a lot about the issue of racism and he commits a lot of time to the matter, including in society. What happened is unacceptable – not just for us but for Italian football as a whole.”

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