Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti said that Napoli will walk off the pitch the next time any of their players is subjected to racism. During last night’s Serie A fixture against Inter Milan at the San Siro, spectators hurled racial slurs towards Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
There were announcements made on the San Siro’s loudspeakers that the match will be stopped if there is any form of racism shown from the fans. According to Ancelotti, Napoli asked the referee to stop the match on several occasions but no action of the sort was taken.
In the 81st minute, the referee booked Koulibaly for a foul on Matteo Politano. Koulibaly lost his temper and sarcastically applauded the referee’s decision. The referee then gave Koulibaly his marching orders. Inter eventually won the game thanks to a stoppage time winner from substitute Lautaro Martinez.
Following the match, Ancelotti said, “The next time we will stop playing and leave the pitch, even if we have to lose the match. I’m unhappy because three times we asked for the match to be suspended due to the racist chanting against Koulibaly. The boy was on edge, he’s an educated footballer who was targeted. What happened today was bad, not only for us but also for Italian football. Koulibaly’s sending-off influenced the match because we were reduced to 10 men.”
Following the match, Koulibaly tweeted that he was proud of his color and ancestry. He wrote, “I’m sorry about the defeat and especially to have left my brothers! But I am proud of the colour of my skin. Of being French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man.”
Despite the defeat, Napoli remain on 2nd position with 41 points. They are now points behind leaders Juventus. The Gli Azzurri next play Bologna on Saturday.