Fiorentina fury at ‘racist’ Atalanta chants at owner Commisso

Fiorentina fury at ‘racist’ Atalanta chants at owner Commisso

Atalanta fans in the stands before the match against Fiorentina at Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo October 2, 2022. — Reuters pic

Monday, 03 Oct 2022 5:00 AM MYT

BERGAMO, Oct 3 — Fiorentina demanded government intervention after their owner Rocco Commisso was targeted with chants they branded “racist” before Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Atalanta.

In a statement, Fiorentina’s general manager Joe Barone said that Atalanta fans racially abused Commisso, with Italian media reporting chants mocking his southern Italian origins.

Commisso was born in Calabria on Italy’s toe but while still a child moved to New York City, where he eventually became an American citizen and a wealthy media magnate.

“Today we were witness to a shameful episode, not from an individual but from an entire stand,” said Barone, also an Italian-American.

“We fought racism in America and today in Italy we have an unacceptable situation. Not only does the league have to intervene but also CONI (Italy’s Olympic committee) and the government.

“We’re disgusted and we expect severe punishment.”

In Italy chants against southerners — known as “territorial discrimination” — are taken as seriously as racial abuse of black people due to the history of discrimination against them in the country’s wealthier northern area such as Bergamo where Atalanta are based.

The most common target for these chants are Napoli, southern Italy’s biggest and most recognisable club.

In August Fiorentina were fined 15,000 euros for chants asking for Mount Vesuvius to explode, a chant so popular among football fans it even ended up on music streaming service Spotify. — AFP