- Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly says racist fans must be banned from stadiums forever.
- The Senegalese was subjected to monkey chants by opposing fans after a Serie A match on Sunday.
- “These people have nothing to do with sport,” Koulibaly said afterward.
Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly says racist fans must be banned from stadiums “forever” after being abused by opposing fans after a match on Sunday.
The 30-year-old had just helped Napoli extend its unbeaten start to the Serie A season with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina when he and a number of the club’s other Black players were targeted as they left the field.
Fiorentina fans were captured on camera making monkey noises and gestures towards Koulibaly, Victor Osimhen, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Koulibaly reacted by confronting one of the abusers after one called him a “monkey.”
“Did you call me a monkey?” he said, according to The Guardian. “Come down here and say it to me, if you’re brave enough.”
After the match, both Koulibaly and Osimhen took to social media to condemn the abuse.
“‘Fucking monkey’, that’s what they called me,” Koulibaly wrote on Instagram. “These people have nothing to do with sport. They need to be identified and kept out of the stadiums; forever.”
Osimhen said on Twitter: “Speak to your kids, your parents; make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin. No to racism.”
—victor osimhen (@victorosimhen9) October 3, 2021
Fiorentina also released a statement to condemn the incident.
“Fiorentina condemns the incidents of racism that took place during the match against Napoli on Sunday in the strongest terms,” the Serie A club said.
“General Manager Joe Barone personally apologized to Napoli and the players who were subjected to these shameful and intolerable chants after the match, on behalf of the club.”
The club also said say CCTV footage from the game will be provided to the authorities to help identify the culprits, who will be banned from its stadium.
“Once the relevant authorities have identified those responsible, Fiorentina will ban them from the stadium and hopes that all other clubs do the same, in addition to ensuring that all rules are applied consistently for all,” it said.
This is not the first time Koulibaly has been racially abused inside an Italian stadium.
In 2016, Napoli’s match away to Lazio was temporarily halted by the referee after monkey noises were aimed at the defender, while he was also targeted during a match against Inter Milan in 2018.