Written by Reuters
18 Dec, 2019 | 3:18 pm
COLOMBO(News 1st) – Italy as a society is in denial over the issue of racism according to Dr. Marco Antonsich of Loughborough University who studies the socio-demographic structures of his home country.
Italy’s top-flight Serie A soccer league launched a new anti-racism campaign on Monday by presenting artwork featuring three side-by-side paintings of apes but the move has been described by campaign group Fare as a sick joke.
The league said the paintings by Italian artist Simone Fugazzotto would be exhibited permanently at the entrance to its main hall “to underline the commitment of the world of football against all forms of discrimination.”
It said the artwork “aims to spread the values of integration, multiculturalism and brotherhood”.
The paintings drew an angry backlash on social media from outside Italy, although there was little reaction inside the country itself.
Antonsich, a senior lecturer in human geography, explained this as an issue that transcends soccer with Italians struggling to come to terms with the issue and even being in denial that it exists. Antonsich believes a better education in schools would improve the situation along with a change in approach from the political institutions.
Milan-born Fugazzotto, described as being “known for his disruptive works”, is famous in Italy and almost all his art involves drawings of chimpanzees.
He said he got the idea for the paintings after Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly suffered racist insults during a match at Inter Milan last season.
Italian football has been plagued by racism with Inter Milan Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku and Brescia’s Italian striker Mario Balotelli having been subjected to racist insults from rival fans during matches this season.
Earlier this month, Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport used the headline ‘Black Friday’ along with a picture of Lukaku and AS Roma’s England defender Chris Smalling to preview last Friday’s match between their clubs in Milan.
Despite a wave of criticism, the newspaper stood by the headline.
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