FIGC: 'Can't interrupt for racist abuse'

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina continues to insist the referee “could not interrupt” Inter-Napoli due to racist abuse. “He perfectly followed procedure.”

Official Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni was criticised, including by UEFA and FIFPro, for not suspending the Serie A match when there was repeated racist abuse aimed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

“Mazzoleni could not interrupt the game. He perfectly followed procedure,” Federation chief Gravina told Rai Sport.

“Unfortunately, at times there are people who don’t know the procedures correctly.”

The usual protocol is for referees to call for a statement made over the stadium speaker that if racist abuse continues, the game will be temporarily suspended.

The statement was read out three times during the Inter-Napoli match, but play was never suspended.

“The chief of security, in particular Questore Cardona, clearly stated that with five minutes left in the game, he could never have suspended play with the risk of creating a massacre.

“Mazzoleni applied the procedure precisely the way it was planned. We will discuss with the Minister for the Interior to see if these procedures can be revised and simplified.

“We can make it clearer that for example after three warnings in the stadium, the teams go back into the locker room, with the decision made by the security chief at the stadium.

“In any case, there is already a system in place to apply very severe sanctions.”

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