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AP interview. Serie A tries to get it right during anti-racism

ROME (AP) – A sharp anti-racist campaign was launched, which involved painting monkeys. Failure to punish clubs և Failure, with fans chanting monkeys at black players. FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s fierce verbal attack, which criticized the Italian football authorities for “hiding the truth” about discrimination.

And even public outrage over Holocaust survivors who became Italian senators.

Serie A efforts to combat racism inside its stadiums were in turmoil more than a year ago when league executive director Luigi De Siervo decided to take matters into his own hands.

Despite headlines such as insulting behavior from Mario Balotelli, Romelu Lukaku and Calido Coulibaly, the little-known Senegalese-born goalkeeper caught the attention of De Siervo.

At the end of 2019, Omar Duff left the field of play, in which his amateur side was involved, when no one intervened to stop the piano spectator from the city of Bangolo in the city of Emilia-Romagna from insulting chants directed at him. The match was stopped, և Duffy, it is not clear, got a one-game ban.

“When I heard his story, I called him and asked if he wanted to change jobs, come to work for us, start this process,” de Siervo said.

Duffy, 39, was clearly surprised when De Siervo offered him to run the Serie A office for anti-discrimination and corporate social responsibility.

“Yes, I was really surprised, but then when I talked to him, I realized that he really wants to change things. That is what persuaded me to accept the job, “Daphne told the Associated Press. “He asked me to bring my own experience, my own feelings as a player, as a prospect.”

A prospect that helped influence the revised league awareness campaign that spread across all Serie A giants over the weekend in coordination with the Italian government’s anti-discrimination board.

Before all 10 games, a video was shown featuring players from all 20 Serie A clubs, people of all backgrounds, who delivered a strong inclusion message. The players wore special patches և, perhaps the most remarkable thing that the Italian League partnered with EA Sports to put the “Keep Racism Out” outfit on FIFA 21 so that “players from all over the world could get a special uniform և use it for their team” :

“We tried to do it to include every level of football,” said De Siervo, “so that even children who play sports know how important it is to fight discrimination.”

It may seem strange that the spread took place at a time when fans were banned from participating in the Italian Games due to the coronavirus epidemic. But, as De Siervo noted, the lack of spectators only put racism in a temporary hiding place.

“It’s still there,” he said. “The problem of racism is as old as the history of the world. With due respect, neither England nor anyone else has resolved it.

“In England, there is no less racism. “But there is another level of tolerance, because (different) people live together longer,” De Siervo added. “Italy is a country where mass immigration has only really reached recently. “France has made more progress because it is a country that is more multicultural than ours.”

Nearly three decades ago, immigration was a new phenomenon in Italy, a predominantly white, Catholic people with a long history of emigration. Today, 9% of Italy’s 60 million population are foreigners, according to the country’s national statistics agency, ISTAT.

Nearly one-fifth of those foreigners come from African countries, such as Duff, who came to Italy at the age of 18 and eventually became an Italian citizen.

The perception from the outside is that racism is extremely weak in Italy.

“There is distrust towards different people. “Different meanings – ‘foreigners’ or just someone else,” Duff said. “Even among Italians, ‘I will put myself in that category because I’m Italian, there is discrimination between people in other regions.’ North to south. We see it in anti-territorial discrimination. There is work to be done in that area as well. ”

The next meeting of the league anti-discrimination office will be with players like Balotelli, Lukaku and Coulibaly who have been targeted by racism, while there are already working groups studying how to create more effective sanctions.

“What we really need to do is allow law enforcement to use face recognition technology to identify those responsible, not let them into stadiums,” de Siervo said. “But it will take months.”

“It simply came to our notice then. We still have a long way to go. ”

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This report was provided by Rob Harris, author of AP Global Soccer in London.

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More AP football. Https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer և https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dumff is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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