FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed his support for two Lecce players who were racially abused in an Italian Serie A match on Wednesday, calling upon fans to “shut up all the racists.”
During the match between Lecce and Lazio in Italy’s top division, French defender Samuel Umtiti and Zambian forward Lameck Banda were subjected to racist abuse.
Under an Instagram post with pictures of two players, Infantino wrote: “Solidarity with Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda – let’s shout it loud and clear: NO TO RACISM!
“May the huge majority of fans, who are good people, stand up to shut up all the racists once and for all!”
A tweet posted by Lecce’s official account after the game read: “The racist chants were drowned out by those of encouragement. All the Lecce fans started to shout one name – Samuel Umtiti.”
Umtiti himself responded to Infantino’s post online, writing: “Only football, pleasure and joy. The rest doesn’t matter.”
In response to CNN, Serie A said: “The league always condemns all forms of discrimination in football, the same will do for yesterday’s episode.”
Serie A also said sanctions for the abuse would be handed down by the Giudice Sportivo, which is part of the Italian Football Federation as opposed to the league itself.
In a statement released Thursday, Lazio said it “has always opposed all forms of racism and discrimination with all available means.”
“Today, Lazio again condemns those who were leading these despicable, shameful and out of date acts, and as always will cooperate fully with the authorities to identify the individuals responsible,” the club said.
“Lazio fans are not racist and cannot be associated with a few individuals who seriously damage the club’s reputation.”
According to Italian media reports, Umtiti was in tears at the end of the match after his team came from behind to win 2-1. On the broadcast and in social media footage, Lecce supporters can be heard chanting his name after the final whistle was blown.