Juventus star Paulo Dybala has warned football’s authorities that the sport is at a tipping point, with players ready “to take action” in support of teammates who are racially abused.
In April of last year, then Juventus striker Moise Kean was subjected to monkey chants from a section of Cagliari fans during a Serie A match. In the face of racist vitriol, the youngster scored and defiantly held his arms aloft in front of the home supporters. incredibly Cagliari wasn’t punished for the incident.
Argentine international Dybala is currently in training as Juventus prepares to restart the Italian football season in Friday’s Coppa Italia match against AC Milan, recalls the impact it had on Kean and believes the country’s football authorities must deliver tougher sanctions in a league that has been plagued by incidents of racist abuse.
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“It really wasn’t easy for him and I’ve experienced various situations of racism with other Juventus teammates in other stadiums,”. “Many Italian stadiums have certain racism against some players — it has also happened to Mario Balotelli, it has also happened to (Miralem) Pjanic in a match against Brescia and I think that Italian punishments should be tougher.
“If not, then it will be us players who will have to take measures into our own hands so that this does not continue to happen, because we are talking about one of the biggest championships in the world, where millions of people are watching and if they see that there is racism and no action is taken, people get emboldened and continue doing it.
“People who have to take action need to take it, or surely in a short time it will be players who will directly take action. As has happened many times in the past, many players are deciding to leave the pitch or not play and it seems to me a perfect decision because it is something that should not happen in a country.
“If society, in this case the Italian Federation, does not decide to do anything, the players should be the ones to act. Or, as the referees have done many times in the past, stop the match so that these people don’t continue committing that crime.”