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Milan called for measures to be implemented after Lazio ultras racially abused

  /  autty

Milan called for “measures to be implemented” after Lazio ultras repeatedly racially abused Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie, protesting that play was not stopped.

The incidents occurred before, during and after the Coppa Italia semi-final at San Siro on Wednesday night, hours after a group of ultras held up a banner praising Benito Mussolini in the city streets.

“AC Milan wants to reiterate its condemnation of all forms of racism and discrimination following the incidents of last night’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg game between AC Milan and SS Lazio.

“Recurring chants and monkey noises directed to players Franck Kessie and Tiémoué Bakayoko could be heard coming from the away stand before, during and after the match.

“Throughout their 120 years of history, the Rossoneri have always honoured the values of Sport, respect and inclusion, which underpin everything we do.

“The Club wants to thank all players from both teams for their professionalism and their fairness, as well as its fans for their passionate support and their responsible behaviour despite a climate exacerbated by unacceptable episodes.

“AC Milan has felt an obligation to report yesterday’s serious incidents to the highest sports governing bodies, with the hope that, with everyone’s commitment, measures are implemented to eliminate racism from all stadia.”

The referee in Italy is not responsible for, nor authorised to, stop play if there are racist chants.

That decision is down to the observer representing the FIGC and the authorities in charge of public safety.

A warning that play would be halted if the racist chants continued was read out over the speaker, but was only met with even louder examples. Play was never stopped at any point, only more warnings read out and openly mocked.

It was also reported that there were at least four inflatable bananas held up in the away section holding the 4,000 Lazio fans.

There were groups of ultras filmed before, during and after the game – even before entering the stadium – singing: ‘This banana is for Bakayoko.’ Those fans were allowed into the ground.

It has been said that Italian authorities struggle legally to remove ultras from the stadium during a match, but allowing them into the arena should’ve been simpler. This action was not taken.

"It was disheartening to watch such an important sporting event in our stadium, whilst monkey noises and racist insults were coming from the stands,” added Milan President Paolo Scaroni.

“We must be extremely vigilant. Football is respect. Football should not divide but unite people.”

Related: MilanLazioBakayoko