Tuesday December 3 2019
Serie A in new racism row

Lega Serie A CEO Luigi De Siervo has defended moving microphones to avoid picking up racist chants. “It’s a television product, not censorship.”

The controversy exploded after La Repubblica newspaper published an extract from a secretly-taped recording of De Siervo speaking to several Serie A club representatives in September.

These included chiefs of Atalanta, Inter, Milan and Udinese, as he was speaking directly to Rossoneri President Paolo Scaroni about the New York Times story.

“I’ll confess, but don’t quote me on this, I asked our directors (of the world feed) to turn off the microphones towards the Curva, so you won’t hear the racist chants on TV.”

La Repubblica contacted De Siervo to ask if he intended therefore to whitewash the racism of crowds in Serie A games.

“In the audio, you hear only a fraction of the reasoning,” he insisted. “We were talking about the television production and noting we are not journalists trying to find news, but rather producing a spectacle to be enjoyed and making the most appetising product.

“There are police, Lega Serie A inspectors and the Federation, as well as the referees, whose job it is to track and document incidents of racism.

“What we were doing was considering how TV coverage can best explain the beauty of Italian football. We do that continually and the basic idea is to avoid dwelling on ugly incidents.

“Therefore, we ‘suspended’ for two rounds the director who in Cagliari spent 40 seconds during a VAR check focused on the home fans who during that time had done all sorts of terrible things.

“In the same vein, we dropped the director who spent too long capturing the homage that the Inter fans had put up to Diabolik (the Lazio ultras killed for being the head of a drugs gang, ndr).

“This is not censorship! We are talking about how to get the best value out of a product. We’d just had to deal with that big article in the New York Times that called Italy the new front of racism in football.

“So I made suggestions on how to best point the pitch-side microphones. It often happens that you can hear details on TV that nobody in the stadium is aware of.”

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