Spalletti accepts stadium closure over fans’ racism gesture
Inter coach Luciano Spalletti has strongly reiterated his condemnation of the alleged racist abuse suffered by Kalidou Koulibaly and said the club “gladly accept” the banning of fans from San Siro if it helps fight discrimination.
The Nerazzurri’s 1-0 win over Napoli on Wednesday was marred as racist chanting appeared to be aimed at Koulibaly on numerous occasions.
Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti claimed his side requested the match be stopped on three occasions due to the apparent abuse.
Inter have subsequently been ordered to play home league games against Sassuolo and Bologna without supporters present and to close the Curva Nord section of San Siro, where the club’s ‘Ultras’ congregate, for a third match against Sampdoria.
Empoli, Inter’s opponents today, announced they will not sell tickets to Inter supporters for their meeting at Stadio Carlo Castellani.
Meanwhile, Koulibaly was handed a two-match ban after being shown a red card for sarcastically applauding referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni for booking him for a foul on Matteo Politano.
Spalletti said in the immediate aftermath that racist chanting “should not be happening”, and, speaking at his media conference ahead of the Empoli game, he told reporters: “My view is one of condemnation.
“The time has come to say enough is enough with racist and discriminatory chants and celebrating tragedies. Enough of whistling a coach or a player for 90 minutes. No more hatred in football. This is the most important thing.
“The education and behaviour of the team have been seen previously, even in the game itself. Inter’s actions are written into the club’s constitution: Internazionale, because we are brothers of the world.”
“We feel obliged to show what we think of it in the long term, not just by making one gesture now. Things aren’t changed just by one action, they are changed by showing commitment on a daily basis.
“Many incidents have already happened. We’re sorry about what’s happened to Koulibaly and we stand by him.
“The disappointment of not being able to play in front of our own fans is great. However, if it can be used to fight this battle then we gladly accept it. Different behaviour is needed and we want to enjoy these matches in a different context.”