Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Maurizio Sarri Express Solidarity with Kalidou Koulibaly

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Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was subjected to deplorable racial abuse by Inter Milan supporters on Boxing Day at the San Siro. The home fans directed repeated racist chants, including monkey noises, at Koulibaly despite multiple announcements made over the venue public address system asking the fans to cease and desist.

According to UEFA, three such warnings were made and went ignored, and thus Inter will now be sanctioned. The Serie A side must play its next two games in front of a completely empty stadium.

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UEFA, in a joint statement, with FIFPro:

“We are very concerned by this unacceptable racist incident and by what appears on the surface to be a failure to respect the widely-recognized three-step anti-racism protocol. Koulibaly was subject to racist chanting and, despite announcements made by the stadium speaker, the chants did not stop. Moreover, it seems that Napoli’s coaching staff had already informed the referee several times of racist chants.”

Across the football world, support for Koulibaly has been pouring in.

Liverpool winger Sadio Mane posted a picture of his Senegal national teammate on Instagram, with the following caption: “I am bitter, not to say bruised and dismayed, by what you have experienced, but I know you well enough that these abominable acts will not reach you at all. We are proud of our race and we will continue to defend it as we defend the colors of our homeland.

“You reminded the world that identity does not compartmentalize.”

Meanwhile Mane’s teammate in the LFC attack, Mohamed Salah expressed his message via Twitter, as he tweeted:

“There’s no place for racism in football. There’s no place for racism anywhere at all.”

Also current Chelsea and former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri said he felt very sorry for his former player. The Italian also lamented the major problem with racism that persists in Italian football.

“In Italy there are some problems in football, especially for Naples I think,” Sarri said at his Friday news conference. “When I was there we stopped two matches; one against Lazio in Rome, one against Sampdoria in Genoa.

“I am very sorry for Kalidou because he is a wonderful man. I am really very sorry for him. I think that in Italy we can do something more for this problem.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation. 

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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