NAfter being racially abused by spectators, US Lecce’s Samuel Umtiti has left the pitch in tears after the 2-1 win against Lazio. His teammate Lameck Banda was also verbally attacked by fans from the capital on Wednesday. The game was temporarily interrupted in the second half. Umtiti, France’s 2018 world champion, received a standing ovation from Lecce supporters.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his support for Umtiti and Banda. “Let’s shout it loud and clear: NO TO RACISM,” he wrote on Instagram: “May the vast majority of fans who are good people stand up and silence all racists once and for all.”
According to Lecce President Saverio Sticchi Damiani, Umtiti “asked to continue the game” after the game was stopped and the stadium announcer called for an end to the abuse: “He wanted to respond to the insults on the pitch. He reacted like a real champion.”
Racist abuse is common in Italian football, and fascist fan groups are widespread throughout the country. The Lazio ultras “Irriducibili” have a hard core of supporters with ties to the far right.