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Inter Milan fined and also to play two games behind close doors as punishment for racial abuse of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly

Inter Milan will play two home Serie A games behind closed doors following the racist abuse of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their Boxing Day game.

They will also play a third game with the ‘curva’ section of the San Siro – popular with the hardcore ‘ultras’ – closed to supporters. Inter are currently deciding whether to appeal the fan ban, which comes after an incident and controversy packed 1-0 victory over Napoli on Wednesday.


The Italian FA president Gabriele Gravin threatened to suspend the league after the shocking scenes – an Inter supporter died following a fight with Napoli fans in which four people were stabbed.

The 35-year-old was hit by a van which, according to reports in Italy, was being driven by Napoli fans an hour before kick-off at the San Siro on Wednesday. He underwent emergency surgery at hospital but died from his injuries. 

It was also reported in the Italian press that rival fans had been armed with chains and hammers and around 60 people were involved in the brawl. 

‘Football is the heritage of true supporters and as such should be defended from all those who use it as a tool to create tension,’ Gravina said.

‘We condemn all forms of both physical and verbal violence, with the aggravating circumstance of racial discrimination. We do not tolerate such behaviour ruining football.’

On the pitch, Senegal international defender Koulibaly was subjected to racial abuse – after the 27-year-old was repeatedly subjected to monkey noises.

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti revealed they asked the referee three times to suspend the match because of the chants.

‘The solution exists,’ Ancelotti told Sky. ‘You have to stop the match. You just have to know when, after how many announcements. And if we don’t know, then next time we may have to stop play ourselves.’

Koulibaly wrote on social media after the game, which Napoli lost 1-0 and in which he was sent off, along with team mate Lorenzo Insigne.

He apologised for the defeat and the red card, but also said: ‘I am proud of the colour of my skin. Proud to be French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man.’ 

Despite the abuse, Koulibaly will also have to serve a two-match ban because of his dismissal. He received two yellows in the 80th minute, the second for sarcastically applauding the referee for giving him the first for a foul. 

 Lautaro Martinez’s goal won it for Luciano Spalletti’s side but the Inter boss said: ‘Racist chanting should not be taking place. If 65,000 people come and watch the match on Christmas, they want to see something else. This is the football that Italians and the people around the world want to enjoy.

‘People want to find football a pleasant place to be together, this is the change of mentality we have to make. This is the right thing to do because our objective is to bring our football up to the top in Europe.’ 

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo also leaped to the defence of Koulibaly. Next to a photo of him being marked by the defender during a match earlier this season, Ronaldo wrote on Instagram ‘Education and respect are needed in the world and in football. No to racism and to any offence and discrimination.’ 

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