Serie A will use VAR cameras to tackle racist chants, says Gabriele Gravina
"I don't care about how many chants there are, but I do care about the principle behind them. Whether it's done by one, two or ten individuals, it needs intervention."
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 17/10/19 6:35pm
Italian FA president Gabriele Gravina announced that Serie A will start employing VAR cameras in a bid to tackle racist chants in stadiums and identify perpetrators.
Gravina, elected FIGC president in October 2018, told Sky in Italy that there are plans in place to hand tougher sentences to racist perpetrators in Italian stadiums.
"We have collaborated with the Ministry of the Interior and set some very strict laws with equally severe sanctions," Gravina said. "So we will resort to the use of technology, but we can only do it with the help of the police and of the Ministry of Interior.
"When we introduced the concept of objective liability that transforms and empowers football clubs through bans and mitigation, we did it because the clubs have, in my opinion, the technology available to identify those responsible.
"I don't care about how many chants there are, but I do care about the principle behind them. Whether it's done by one, two or ten individuals, it needs intervention - even one single person must be prosecuted.
"Football clubs today can identify those responsible through technology: we have in mind an experiment that will surely lead to great results, and we will introduce it shortly.
"One thing is for sure - I have no intention, and neither does the rest of the football world, to let down our guard. It amazes me that chants are sometimes noticed, other times not: we need to understand the reasons behind this, it is not normal.
"We can win the battle against racism if we're all united and focused on a common goal, the one to remove these individuals from our competitions. For this we will adopt the VAR system against said chants."
Serie A saw a spate of racist incidents in the past year, with Blaise Matuidi, Romelu Lukaku, Moise Kean and Kalidou Koulibaly suffering abuse while playing away.
However, after the Lukaku incident in September, the Italian FA announced an initiative where all 20 top-flight sides will put forward a player to become part of Serie A's "Team against Racism", a testimonial that will be the first-person bearer of the values of respect and equality.
Last week, Italian giants Roma handed a fan a three-year stadium ban after he racially abused defender Juan Jesus on social media following their 2-0 loss against Atalanta in September.
The owner of the below Instagram account sent Juan Jesus disgusting racist abuse via direct message today— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 26, 2019
We have reported the account to the Italian police
We have reported the account to Instagram
The person responsible will be banned from #ASRoma games for life#NoToRacism pic.twitter.com/qP3SZT0pJY
Gravina also had his say on the incident that marred England's win in Bulgaria on Monday, when a faction of home supporters racially abused England players.
"There has been a huge overlap of political and environmental powers in the Bulgarian government that imposed the resignation of the president of the Bulgarian Football Union. I feel like their government hasn't been very sensitive to the Bulgarian situation to have a president dismissed because of fans' misbehaviours.
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"What happened in Sofia confirms the fact that racism is a despicable phenomenon spread throughout the continent, not only due to Italy, that needs to be condemned with the utmost severity."