Atalanta have been fined £32,000 after fans pelted AC Milan duo Kevin Constant and Nigel De Jong with bananas in a racist attack on Sunday afternoon.
However, whilst the Italian FA can take solace in the fact they have at least acted, the punishments distributed to offenders are too weak and are still allowing racism to severely hamper sporting spaces within the country.
For too long, racism and discrimination has marred the Serie A and Italian football. The incident at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia was not solitary and nor will it be the last if punishments continue to offer mercy and leniency. Mario Balotelli is another Milan player that has suffered racist abuse within his native country, Constant has suffered in the past whilst Kevin Prince Boateng was another who suffered when plying his trade at the San Siro.
There is no incentive, no fear that stops fans from offending and reoffending. Commercialism within football is at such a high that even the financial reprimands are effectively meaningless.
To put Atalanta’s ban in perspective, Manchester City have just been fined over £50million over violating the Financial Fair Play system. Surely the endangerment and abuse is disgusting enough to warrant a punishment of a similar figure?
You would think so, but the powers that be think different. Atalanta may have apologised for the actions of their fans, but sometimes the word sorry does not go far enough.
Insultingly, the Serie A disciplinary tribunal opted to suspend the one game closure of the Curva Nord stand for one year, and that the punishment would only be triggered if an incident of a similar nation rears its head. This carries the message that racism is acceptable for a one off occasion only, and racism only grows worse if increased. Constant and De Jong have a right to be aggrieved with their feelings seemingly unconsidered by the panel.
The league is crying out for a revolutionary way of punishing racists. Italy is a hard league to crack given its history in the matter, but harsher punishments are the way to eventually ensure a gradual overhaul of the game.
Any fan caught making a racist gesture, or throwing an object onto the pitch that causes endangerment to anyone, should be banned for life and as a result points should be docked and larger fines implemented.
Points docking would create a collectiveness amongst football fans, with the collective needed to ensure the team not come under any punishment courtesy of fan behaviour.
It is the only way to ensure the future of Italian football remain diverse.
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