Racist football fan thrown out for first time in Italy

PADUA-- On Saturday a young footballer was racially abused by a fan in the terraces in a local game between Dolo and Vedelago.

 The fan in question reportedly said “dirty n****, go collect bananas.” The fan in question was a home fan a directed his insults toward a player on the opposite team of African descent. The player in question’s name was Gansane and is only 18 and had done nothing more than be brought to ground after a heavy challenge.

 Racist attacks are not uncommon in football and this one was very much like so many of the rest. Despite this, the attack on Sunday may be one of the few that have led to something good. The director of the competition in which the teams were playing, Alessandro Coletto, not only came to the defence of the Vedelago player, he actually took action.

 He tracked down the fan who had hurled the abuse, returned the money he had paid for a ticket to the match and threw him out of the stadium. This has never happened before in an Italian stadium. “I think the message is clear”, said Coletto, “I’d rather pay the 8 euros for a ticket to keep out racists.” There was the slightest of consolations for the player as his team won 2-1. Justice Minister, Andrea Orlando, also addressed the issue saying that he thought the response from all those involved was exactly how these events should be handled, even if it is not done frequently enough. “This is the exactly the kind of answer you should give in these situations, you can count on my support.”

 The head of the amateur league, Cosimo Siilia added: “Racism is a thing that plagues our world but Coletto’s response shows that those in charge have a clear idea of their mission: watch out for and eradicate intolerance.”