Saturday September 28 2019
Pjanic case different from Lukaku

There are several reasons why Brescia were punished for racist abuse of Miralem Pjanic, but not Cagliari or Verona for insults to Romelu Lukaku and Franck Kessie.

The decision to take no action against Cagliari and Hellas Verona for the actions of supporters during the games against Inter and Milan caused controversy.

So when it was announced on Friday that Brescia had been given a (suspended) partial stadium ban for abuse of Juventus midfielder Pjanic, who is Bosnian and was called a ‘gypsy’ by members of the crowd, it raised some questions.

There are several reasons why this case was given a different treatment to the others and race was not one of them.

In the investigation of both Cagliari and Verona incidents, it was noted in the official report that these were a few individuals and not enough to activate the level required for clubs to be penalised.

This might not be the approach that many people appreciate or want, but it is the current guideline used by the Italian authorities.

In all of these cases, the racist abuse came during key moments of the game, so there was also loud non-racist jeering and shouting all around the stadium.

With Pjanic, the official report states a large percentage of the Curva section was participating in the chant – circa 90 per cent – and did meet the threshold for holding the club responsible.

The other reason the racist chants were particularly clear in this case is that they took place during the post-match interview, so when most of the crowd was generally quiet.

It made the chant audible and obvious enough to warrant punishment with a ban.

There are still some real problems in the protocol of how to deal with individual wrongdoing in an Italian football stadium, partly because the stadiums are largely run by the local council and not the clubs.

Stewards are also still a relatively new addition to the matchday process and focus largely on helping provide information rather than actively engaging in security.

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