Milan to play behind closed doors over abusive chants

Tue Oct 8, 2013 8:57pm EDT
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ROME (Reuters) - AC Milan have been ordered by Italy's football authorities to play their next game behind closed doors and were fined 50,000 euros ($67,900) following abusive chants by supporters about southern club Napoli.

During Sunday's match against Juventus in Turin, hundreds of Milan supporters shouted "We are not Neapolitans" and other offensive chants which the Naples daily Il Mattino said reflected long-standing contempt for the south by northern clubs.

In the fiercely territorial world of Italian football, abusive rivalry between supporters of clubs in the rich north and those in the poorer south is not uncommon and Milan officials reacted with shock to the verdict by Serie A sporting judges.

The punishment means that Milan, 12th in Serie A after the 3-2 loss to Juve, will play their next home game on October 19 against Udinese behind closed doors.

"To say I'm furious would be putting it mildly," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told reporters on Tuesday. "I understand that racism is a big problem, a problem everywhere in the world in Italy we have invented territorial discrimination for ourselves.

"I called (Italian football) president (Giancarlo) Abete to ask whether he thinks that this rule is just. What I ask is that it is abolished."

A football federation (FIGC) spokesman said the rules were being applied in line with UEFA guidelines.

"It's not as though the rules are imposed on any club. It's down to a judge to decide on the punishment, and they can make their case against any decision," he said.

FIGC president Abete added: "Italian legislation follows UEFA proposals that apart from anything else have been the subject of UEFA and FIFA congresses. We are in an international context in which a different way of dealing with discrimination is required."   Continued...