Napoli urge fans to make voices heard in fight against racism in Atalanta game

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

Napoli have urged their fans to make themselves heard in the fight against racism during Saturday’s home game against Atalanta.

The Serie A club said earlier in the week that it was “astonishing” that Italy defender Francesco Acerbi was not sanctioned over allegations of racism against their player Juan Jesus.

Inter Milan’s Acerbi was accused of racism towards Jesus in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw earlier this month, with the Napoli defender briefly pausing the match to report the matter to the referee.

But Acerbi will face no further action after Jesus’ claims were dismissed by a Serie A sports judge due to a lack of evidence.

On Friday, Napoli wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “We believe in a world where equality and respect are not just empty illusions but concrete and universally recognised principles.

“For this to happen, we mustn’t stay silent. Tomorrow is the right chance to raise our voices and say NO to racism.”

Acerbi protested his innocence, but agreed to withdraw from the national squad for this week’s games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with manager Luciano Spalletti.

Serie A sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea considered the case against Acerbi and on Tuesday concluded: “In this case the minimum level of reasonable certainty regarding the discriminatory content of the offence committed is not reached.”

Napoli issued a statement in response saying they found the verdict “astonishing”, adding: “Napoli will no longer take part in anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives run by football institutions that are merely symbolic.

“But we will continue to organise them ourselves, as we have always done, with renewed conviction and determination.”

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