Players’ Association President Damiano Tommasi urged “courage” to fight racism in football and destroy “safe havens” for ultras in the stadium.
The issue reared its ugly head again when Romelu Lukaku was racially abused by Cagliari fans, but what really took the story around the world was the open letter from a group of Inter ultras in the Curva Nord who insisted it was not racism, but a way of ‘helping the team’ by putting him off his game.
“We need courage, because people who act this way must be sanctioned,” Tommasi told Radio Rai.
“If there are only a few, they need to be identified and taken out of the stadium. If there are many, then play has to be halted. The trouble is these insults aren’t just in the stadiums, but on social media and they are spreading.
“We also really need all elements of the State to work together on the issue of these ‘safe havens’ in the stadiums. Some zones must be more closely monitored, because the Inter Curva Nord statement about Lukaku was the proof these safe havens do indeed exist, areas where people think they can do anything.”
Tommasi was also asked about the Mauro Icardi row with Inter, which saw him try to sue the club for ‘discrimination’ when excluded from full training sessions, before finally accepting a last-minute loan move to Paris Saint-Germain.
“The Icardi case is emblematic of squads now being too big. He was not part of their project, but was only allowed to go out on loan after extending his contract, which seems incredible.
“Some players who wanted to leave were blocked by their clubs, but it happened the other way round too. We need to find a solution and understand why this is happening more often.”