Inter Milan to play two games behind closed doors following racist slurs from stands

The Milanese club will play to an empty San Siro on two occasions, as punishment for the racial abuse levied at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly by sections of their fans during Wedneday’s Serie A fixture between the two sides.

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A third match will then be played in the stadium, this time with the ‘curva’ section, which houses Inter Milan’s ‘ultra’ fans, closed.

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti revealed after the 1-0 defeat that he had asked match officials on three occasions to call off the game after Senegalese defender Koulibaly was targeted with slurs throughout the game.

The tempestuous nature of the match continued well after the final whistle, as fans clashed outside the stadium. Four Napoli fans were stabbed, while an Inter Milan fan was killed when he was struck by a vehicle close to the stadium.

READ MORE: Italian FA considering suspension of Serie A following death of Inter Milan fan – report

The punishment will continue past the middle of February, as Inter Milan’s next three scheduled home games are against Sassuolo (19 January), Bologna (3 February) and Sampdoria (17 February).

Koulibaly has also received a two-match ban for the red card he picked up during the fixture.

Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian FA, says that he took the action when he decided that the racist abuse was “no longer tolerable.”

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Football is the heritage of true supporters and as such should be defended from all those who use it as a tool to create tension,” he said.

We condemn all forms of both physical and verbal violence, with the aggravating circumstance of racial discrimination. We do not tolerate such behavior ruining football.”

Meanwhile, Napoli boss Ancelotti has received praise from anti-racism groups for pledging to remove his team from the field if he finds himself in a similar situation in future.

Under Ancelotti’s leadership the position of Napoli on racism and discriminatory abuse is clear, we note that the club previously threatened to take their players off the pitch before a match against Atalanta on 3 December,” it said.

Kalidou Koulibaly has consistently been the target of an alarming level of racist abuse while playing against clubs across Italy, including Atalanta, Juventus, Lazio and now Inter Milan.

“Too often, the punishments handed out by Italian football authorities are weak and ineffective.”

Koulibaly posted an apology to social media for being sent off in the game, but reiterated his pride at being Senegalese.

I’m sorry about the defeat and especially to have let my brothers down,” he wrote.

But I’m proud of the color of my skin. To be French, Senegalese, Neapolitan, and a man.”

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