The agent of AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie has branded Hellas Verona’s handling of the current racism row as ‘shameful’ in an interview.
Milan won 1-0 at the Stadio MarcAntonio Bentegodi on Sunday night in what can only be described as an ill-tempered reunion between the two sides following Hellas’ promotion back to the top flight.
Mariusz Stepinski saw red in the first half for a nasty challenge on Mateo Musacchio and Davide Calabria was also sent off for a clothesline on Matteo Pessina.
Krzysztof Piatek netted a second half penalty which proved to be the decisive goal as the Rossoneri nicked all three points on their trip east.
During the game, Kessie was subject to a much more hostile reception than most Milan players, with the general consensus being that it was racial abuse.
However, Verona hit back at those claims instead asking for ‘respect’ on social media, insisting that Kessie was being booed and not racially abused.
Now, the player’s agent – George Atangana – has had his say on the situation in an interview with repubblica.it.
“How did Franck react? African footballers have broad shoulders, now they don’t mind that much,” he revealed.
“This does not mean that these incidents do not hurt them, and that the trend must be absolutely stopped. Even the words are important.
“Verona’s statement? I found it unacceptable, shameful. It denies the facts and confirms the tendency to consider what is not normal at all.
“I do not see any real will in Italy to address and solve the problem, as is the case in other European countries.”
There has been suggestions from fans and pundits that players should leave the pitch if they are the subject of racial abuse, to send a message to the authorities.
“It does not seem to me that it is so difficult to identify racists and punish them,” Atangana continued.
“In other countries, I repeat, it happens. First of all, the appointed bodies must not close their eyes and their ears. Then, if the insults go on, the games are suspended.
“But I have the feeling that there is no will to seriously intervene. So there are young players, victims of racism, who prefer to leave Italy.
“They are the least famous people, as always, to suffer the most serious consequences of this phenomenon.
“Now there are no places immune to racism and the failure to react to these facts causes the devil that is in each of us to come out.
“Moreover, it is also detrimental to the Italian football movement, at a time when some foreign champions are again attracted by Italian football. I don’t think Cristiano Ronaldo is happy if he sees Matuidi insulted.
“I personally know French boys who do not want to come to Italy because of racism.
“We wash our conscience with fines of 5 or 10 thousand euros to clubs. Useless. We need decisive action. Otherwise, if nobody does anything, every episode of racism will be followed by an even more serious one.
“Pretending nothing is complicity with racists. It is about the credibility of the institutions.”