Wednesday’s game between Lecce and Lazio was briefly halted in the second half as the opposing fans targeted Samuel Umtiti with racist chants. Referee Livio Marinelli considered halting the match altogether, but it continued as the local supporter started shouting the defender’ name, TuttoSport informs.
The Barcelona loanee reportedly asked for the play to resume. He was emotional after the game for the show of support. His teammate Lameck Banda, who subbed off at half-time, was the subject of slurs as well.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino took to Instagram to express his solidarity. Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani praised the Lecce faithful.
“How nice it was to ear our fans chanting his name to overwhelm the ugly boos. It was a civil and intelligent response. It’s a shame, and it’s time to put an end to these incidents. Sometimes you label everybody due to behavior of a few, but it’s unacceptable. We are proud of Banda, Umtiti, and Aaron Ceesay, who are great guys.”
The exec added to Tuttomercatoweb.
“Umtiti answered on the pitch, giving something more and playing like a World Champions in the second half.”
Lazio supporters aren’t new to this kind of events. Coach Maurizio Sarri weighed in after the game.
“I don’t want to overlook the matter, but I swear I didn’t hear anything from the bench. I asked the referee about it during the stoppage, because I was unaware of what was happening. Our supporters shouldn’t be associated with racism. They should be represented by their majority and not a minority.”
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