The Lega Serie A announced its series of anti-racism initiatives, including a representative from every team and a controversial choice of art works.
The presentation had as its centre-piece three pieces from internationally renowned artist Simone Fugazzotto, who uses chimps and apes in motifs throughout all of his paintings.
“For an artist, there is nothing more important than trying to change people’s perceptions via their work,” said Fugazzotto.
“With this trio of paintings, I tried to show that we are all complex and fascinating creatures, who can be sad or happy, Catholic, Muslim or Buddhist, but at the end of the day, what decides who we are is not the colour of our skin."
It was originally commissioned for the Coppa Italia between Lazio and Atalanta in May.
“I only paint monkeys as a metaphor for human beings. We turn the concept back on the racists, as we are all monkeys originally. So I painted a Western monkey, an Asian monkey and a black monkey.”
It could be said that using three paintings of monkeys to combat people making racist ape noises at black players is at best inadvisable, the Lega Serie A chose this specific artist.
As Football Italia editor Susy Campanale notes, there is a cultural vacuum in Italy when it comes to understanding racism.
“Simone’s paintings fully reflect the values of fair play and tolerance, so will remain in our headquarters,” explained Lega Serie A general manager Luigi De Siervo.
“The Lega is taking a strong stand against any form of prejudice. We realise racism is an endemic problems and very complex, so we are facing it on three fronts – cultural, via works of art such as Simone’s paintings, sporting through a series of initiatives and players and clubs, and also repressive, thanks to the collaboration with the police.
“By acting on these three levels, we are sure that we can win the most important match against this plague that is ruining world’s most beautiful sport.”
Each Serie A club put forward its own representative for the Anti-Racism Team.
Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna), Daniele Gastaldello (Brescia), Ragnar Klavan (Cagliari), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Fiorentina), Stefano Sturaro (Genoa), Sofyan Amrabat (Verona), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Joaquin Correa (Lazio), Khouma Babacar (Lecce), Davide Calabria (Milan), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Gervinho (Parma), Juan Jesus (Roma), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Pedro Obiang (Sassuolo), Felipe (SPAL), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino), Stefano Okaka (Udinese)
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