Referee Gianluca Rocchi put the new protocols into action when briefly suspending Roma-Napoli due to offensive chants.
The rules were changed a few weeks ago, giving officials in Italy the power to stop play if racist chants continue after an initial warning is read over the speaker system.
That was the case this afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico, as Roma fans repeatedly made insulting chants about Neapolitans.
In Italy, this is considered ‘territorial discrimination’ and treated on the same level as racism.
Roma striker and captain Edin Dzeko played a crucial role, as he immediately walked over to the Curva Sud and urged them to make positive noise, cheering on their team rather than insulting the opposition.
Rocchi thanked the Bosnian for his actions, shaking his hand after the gesture.
Play resumed a few minutes later, as per protocol.
If the chants continue even after that initial suspension, the referee is allowed to take the players off the pitch.
Once they return following another interruption, if the insults still don’t stop, the game can be abandoned altogether.
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