Love ItLove It

Racism in Italy – Part 6 – Sports

The Italian Federation of Football Games (FIGC) clearly condemns all discriminatory behaviors, as stated in their rule book. Clubs can be fined and matches can be suspended or even postponed, like it would happen in case of harsh weather conditions.

As it’s difficult to identify each culprit individually, most of the time the disciplinary procedure consists of closing the section designed for organized fan groups (ultras), known as “curva”, for a defined amount of time.

Is it enough? It looks like it isn’t.


Italian soccer fans have a history of insulting the opposing team, as a way to support their own. Some chants are entirely about making fun of other teams.

Teams represent cities or regions, meaning that oftentimes these chants are discriminatory, therefore forbidden, but they’re hardly ever prosecuted because they’re part of a tradition.

The worst chants of this kind are probably those against Napoli, often asking Vesuvio (the volcano) to do them a favor, or simply remarking a supposed lack of hygiene.


Fans spend a good amount of their energies insulting the opposing team, but they always save some for the players. While chants can often be creative, insults targeted to individual players are usually improvised and tend to be banal.

Referees get a worse treatment, of course. I couldn’t find info about their life expectancy, but I bet it’s low due to all the curses they receive.


Italians are mama’s boys, therefore the most common insult involves the player’s mother, depicted as either “masculine” or “very available”.

The second most common insult concerns race, one race in particular. It’s usually not a word, or a phrase, but a noise. It’s the case of hooting, imitating the sound of a monkey, often confused with booing.

Insults like these are reactions, ways to show displeasure or provoke out of envy; they don’t appear randomly and not necessarily imply fans are racist. Insults are usually meant to offend, to harm, not to express an opinion. Some organized groups such as those of Lazio and Hellas Verona are exceptions to this rule because they actively praise fascism and do so shamelessly, almost breaking the law. Thankfully we’re talking of small numbers but unfortunately they’re very loud.

Despite most Italian fans aren’t truly racist, they still hurt players by reacting in such a shameful manner, by hitting one of their weakest spots.

Unless they throw a banana at Dani Alves, that will make him stronger.

Jokes aside (that didn’t even occur in Italy but Spain), what we perceive as racism, in this case, is usually nothing but bullying.

You may argue that racism is a form of bullying, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

However, what I mean is that bullying doesn’t imply prejudice or a sense of superiority; it is more of a way to gain that feeling, to hide insecurity.

Both racism and bullying are very bad nevertheless, and both must be condemned.


A note about Dani Alves. Humor might not be the solution, but actions like that disempower bullies, because their attempts to harm become vain.

This teaches us a lesson, or reminds us of a thing: love yourself, be proud of yourself, who you are and what you do, and nobody will ever be able to put you down. At least not with words or gestures.

  • Question of

    Do fans insult the opponents, out of tradition, in your place?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sometimes
  • Question of

    Are episodes of racism common in sport, at your place?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe
  • Question of

    If yes, do you think wrongdoers are properly punished?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sometimes
    • N/A


What do you think?

22 Points

Written by sabtraversa


    • Thank you for your support and for showing interest in the matter. ?
      Experience makes research easier, as the topic is very heavy on an emotional level, it also requires a lot of motivation.

        • There were no elections this year, so Salvini didn’t win, but he didn’t lost either. He was just not chosen for the new “coalition” made by the parliament that was voted last year. Italians only vote for the parliament.
          Actually, the popular consensus is very high, surveys say he got 36%.

  1. I have been seeing the news reports that sports is being beset with racism issues. Maybe we just have to ignore racism so it will go away. The more we talk about it, the more it becomes heated.

    • True, fans can make a difference but they should only support and encourage their team, not distract and humiliate the opponents. On the field, if someone commits a foul, he will be punished, I don’t get why the same behavior is more tolerated if it’s the audience that does so.