Inter Milan have been ordered to play their next two home games behind closed doors and keep a part of the stadium closed for a third after their supported racially abused Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during the Serie A match at San Siro last Wednesday.
The league officials on Thursday announced that the stadium will remain closed for supporters in Inter’s home games against Sassuolo on January 19 and Bologna on February 3 as an immediate response to the incidents on Wednesday.
Koulibaly, on the other, has also been suspended for two games by the league’s disciplinary tribunal for the red card he received in the 81st minute for sarcastically applauding the referee for an earlier booking.
Since 1908, Inter has represented integration, innovation and progressiveness. The history of Milan is a welcoming one and together we are fighting to build a future without discrimination. Those who do not understand this history do not stand with us. #BrothersOfTheWorld #FCIM pic.twitter.com/lUok3qDgno
— Inter (@Inter_en) December 27, 2018
The club informed on its website that the centre-back was racially abused by the Nerazzurri during the encounter, while sports website ESPN claimed that the player was subject to monkey chants from a section of supporters in the home stands.
“I’m disappointed by the defeat and above all to have left my brothers,” said Koulibaly on Twitter. “But I am proud of the colour of my skin. Proud to be French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man,” Koulibaly later wrote on Instagram.
Mi dispiace la sconfitta e sopratutto avere lasciato i miei fratelli!
Però sono orgoglioso del colore della mia pelle. Di essere francese, senegalese, napoletano: uomo.
— Koulibaly Kalidou (@kkoulibaly26) December 26, 2018
He was first booked for fouling Matteo Politano in the right-wing and was dismissed for his ironic reaction to the referee, who showed him a second yellow in a split of seconds despite the Napoli players defending their compatriot against the racial abuse.
Meanwhile, Giuseppe Sala, the Mayor of Milan, also condemned the action and apologised to Koulibaly over the insults describing it as a “shameful act”. “It was a shameful act against a respected athlete, who proudly bears the colour of his skin, and also, to a lesser degree, against the many people who go to the stadium to support their team and be with their friends,” he wrote on Facebook.
Napoli went on to lose the game 1-0 to a stoppage-time goal after skipper Lorenzo Insigne was also sent off. It left them nine points behind leaders Juventus in the Serie A point standings.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti said that his team will walk off the pitch if similar incidents occurred in the near future. He also informed that the club had asked an Italian Federation (FIGC) delegate to stop the match thrice but instead only public announcements were made to stop the racist chants.