Play stopped after Lazio supporters racially abuse Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly
Italian football and racism continue to be intertwined.
The second half of Wednesday's Serie A fixture between Lazio and Napoli was stopped in the 68th minute, when supporters of the Biancocelesti racially abused Kalidou Koulibaly, seemingly making monkey chants each time the Senegalese centre-back touched the ball. They apparently also made anti-Neapolitan chants during the match.
Napoli took to Twitter after play was halted, writing: "Irrati stops play for the repeated racial abuse by some of Lazio's supporters."
Lazio, unsurprisingly, described the incident on Twitter using different wording, writing: "Mr. Irrati interrupts the game at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome."
Play continued three minutes later, and Napoli went on to win the game 2-0.
"I would not have stopped the match," Stefano Piolo, Lazio's manager, said, according to Reuters. "It was chanting from the minority, but I don't think they were racist. We also have players of colour and they are treated well."
Maurizio Sarri, Napoli's manager who was recently handed a two-match ban for alleged homophobic insults aimed at Roberto Mancini, offered a different take than Piolo, saying: "Bravo to Irrati for stopping the match."
The Stadio Olimpico holds a reputation as being a scene of racism, as Lazio's ultras, the Curva Nord, have plagued the stadium with monkey chants, racist banners, and fascist memorabilia. In a derby between Lazio and AS Roma, a banner was unveiled that referred to the latter's association with Italy's Jewish population and read: "Auschwitz is your town; the ovens are your houses."
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