Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has threatened to lead his team off the pitch the next time one of his players is subject to continued racist abuse.
Ancelotti asked several times for Napoli’s match at Inter Milan to be halted on Wednesday after racist chanting. Announcements were made on the stadium tannoy system warning fans that would happen but no further action was taken.
“We asked three times for the match to be halted because of racist chants,” Ancelotti said. “Announcements were made but the match continued. Next time we’ll stop the match by leaving the pitch, even if that means maybe forfeiting the match.”
Ancelotti believes the inaction by officials led to the dismissal of defender Kalidou Koulibaly 10 minutes from time.
The Senegal international, who had had monkey noises directed at him throughout the Serie A game, received two yellow cards in quick succession, the second for sarcastically applauding the referee after being shown the first.
“Koulibaly was agitated and nervous, which is normal,” Ancelotti said. “It’s not good for us and it’s not good for Italian football.”
Napoli went on to lose the match 1-0 after Lautaro Martinez netted a stoppage-time winner for Inter.
Koulibaly posted on Twitter of his pride of being born in France to Senegalese parents.
“I’m sorry about the defeat and especially to have left my brothers! But I am proud of the color of my skin. Of being French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man,” he wrote.
It is the latest incident of racism to blight Italian football.
Sulley Muntari walked off the field during a Serie A game in April 2017 in response to racial abuse. The Pescara midfielder was infuriated after unsuccessfully trying to get the referee to halt the game at Cagliari.