Gianluigi Buffon has offered his opinion on the recent spate of ‘territorial discriminatory’ chants that have blighted Serie A.
Several sides, including Juventus, have seen sections of their stadium closed this season due to chants against southern clubs.
But the goalkeeper has insisted that fans are not acting in hatred, but just urging to be heard.
“Racism is an important issue,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I believe that human beings strive to find the difference between themselves and another race.
“Or, if in Italy, themselves and a citizen of another region. I think that the comparison can help us fight it though.
“I don’t think the fans are acting out of hatred – I just think the goal is to be heard and emphasize the dissent.
“I know the spirit in which they are made. I used to be one of those fans.
“I think it’s fair to severely punish for some forms of intolerance. I do not presume to fully understand the kind of abuse some players get.
“I can’t have the same sensitivity to those who are affected by the attacks, but punishment is important for the image of Italian football.”
Buffon concluded by commented on the issue of gay players – or lack thereof.
“I don’t think I have ever played with a homosexual player. But if Juve bought one, my only wish is that he’d win us games.”