Friday December 28 2018
Salvini plays down Koulibaly abuse

Italy’s deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, plays down the racism directed at Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly - “Bonucci got booed by Milan fans, is that racism?”

The Senegal international was subjected to monkey chants in his side’s defeat to Inter, for which the Nerazzurri were given a two-match stadium ban.

Despite that, the second most powerful man in the Italian government sought to downplay the issue in an appearance on Tiki Taka last night.

“Tomorrow I’ll be at the ministry to evaluate who we need to bring to the table for discussions,” Salvini, leader of the populist anti-immigrant Lega, said.

“We need a huge examination of conscience. All the stakeholders in the football world are needed, clubs and supporters.

“I don’t understand why the overwhelming majority of Inter fans, good people, have to pay for some criminals who were fighting 2km away. Criminal responsibility is personal.

“[Referee Paolo] Mazzoleni continued the game and he did very well, try to imagine if rumours of those clashes had spread with the game suspended?

“I expect answers from the Milan police chiefs, because evidently something didn’t work. There were some criminals who came from abroad to sow violence.

“Racism is the stuff of idiots in 2018, but let’s not put everything in the same pot. In the stadiums they also sing ‘Milan in flames’, would that be racism too?

“Bonucci was booed by the Milan fans, is that racism? Healthy teasing among fans is not to be considered racism.

“If we want to condemn and defeat violence we can’t pretend it’s all the same stuff.

“The vast majority of the organised fans [Ultras] are good people, those people yesterday are delinquents, not fans. A fan doesn’t go to a stadium with a knife.

“What would I say to Koulibaly? That I’d love to see him in a Milan shirt, he’s very strong.”