Italy Coach Roberto Mancini believes “sport is the only thing that can truly unite people and not divide them,” speaking of his experiences in Turkey.
It has been a tense few days in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, with England’s game against Bulgaria suspended twice due to racist abuse from the stands, while Turkish players could be penalised by UEFA for making military salutes after their matches.
“There are difficult situations all over Europe and we are all having to deal with racism, including Italy. We need the whole world to start improving overall,” Mancini told Rai Sport.
“As for the rest, I am against all forms of war, whoever it might be. We are approaching 2020 and everything can be resolved by talking, with dialogue, and war is never a good solution.
“I believe sport is the only thing that can truly unite people and not divide them. Not just football, but sport in general. It’s too easy to say there is racism, homophobia, etc, when we men of sport work with people of every ethnicity and colour every day. It’s our job to unite and not divide.”
Having said that, Mancini has experience of Turkey and its football after his time with Galatasaray.
“I lived in Istanbul for a year, it is a marvellous city filled with marvellous people. I don’t know what could happen in future.”
There are growing calls for Istanbul to be stripped of the 2020 Champions League Final following Turkey’s military action on the Kurds in Syria.
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