AS Roma Fined $65K For Fans' Racist Behavior In Sunday's Game Against AC Milan
Serie A side AS Roma has been fined €50,000 ($65,000) by the Lega Calcio "after a section of supporters racially abused three Milan players during Sunday night's Serie A game at San Siro," according to the PA. The match, which finished goalless, "was suspended for two minutes shortly after half-time by referee Gianluca Rocchi." Although the Lega "did not specify which three players it believed had been targeted by Roma fans, the striker Mario Balotelli was seen raising his finger to his lips in a bid to silence visiting fans." Roma captain Francesco Totti then "approached the away end at San Siro during the suspension to reason with offending Giallorossi supporters." A statement published on legaserie.it said, "A fine of €50,000 with a warning for Roma." The warning attached to Roma's financial punishment "could lead to the club playing future league matches behind closed doors should the events of Sunday night be repeated." Earlier on Monday, the president of the Italian Football Federation "pledged to push through legislation to help identify and exclude individuals found guilty of racist behaviour in Italian stadiums" (PA, 5/13).
TASK FORCE MEETS: The London EVENING STANDARD reported FIFA's anti-racism taskforce was meeting for the first time Monday as President Sepp Blatter said he was "appalled" by chants directed at AC Milan players. Blatter tweeted, "Appalled to read about racist abuse in Serie A last night. Tackling this issue is complex, but we're committed to action, not just words" (EVENING STANDARD, 5/13). Roma General Dir Franco Baldini contested whether the chants were racist and said, "The boos were directed at Balotelli because he's a feared player. The nature of the chants was not clear. And I clearly heard the Milan fans chanting 'romano bastardo' -- 'roman bastard' -- which is just as discriminatory. It's difficult to figure out where the border is between racial discrimination or simple boos" (AP, 5/13).