Italian football matches 'should be abandoned' if fans chant antisemitic abuse

By Marcus Dysch, January 11, 2013

Antisemitic chanting at Italian football matches could lead to the suspension of games, new guidelines have suggested.

Italy’s interior ministry issued guidance which advises match referees to report incidents of “racism, intolerance or antisemitism” to stadium security chiefs who could then rule on whether to abandon a game.

The ministry’s sport watchdog commission met police and football authorities this week to discuss the “despicable phenomenon of racism” seen in the Italian football leagues in recent months.

Last week AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the field after being racially abused by spectators at a friendly match.

European football governing body Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings into the conduct of Lazio fans who allegedly chanted antisemitic slogans at a match against English club Tottenham last November.

The ministry guidelines make clear that after a referee alerts stadium security bosses to racist incidents the “sole responsibility for suspending the match” sits with the director of the public order service.

“The director, in the presence of particularly serious expressions of racism or intolerance, will decide in all cases on the non-continuation of the match or its suspension on a temporary basis to allow warnings to be issued to supporters over the public address system," the ministry said in a statement.

Last updated: 12:04pm, January 11 2013