Barcelona loanee Samuel Umtiti faces racial abuse in Serie A game against Lazio
Racial abuses in stadiums have remained commonplace in European football despite widespread campaigns against racism. In one such case, Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, who is currently on loan at Lecce, was the subject of racism during the game against Lazio in Serie A.
Umtiti had joined Lecce on a season-long loan deal in the summer. He was playing his sixth Serie A match of the season when he appeared against Lazio. But he was met with incessant racial abuses from the visiting Lazio fans, who mainly targeted Umtiti and his teammate Lameck Banda, reports Mundo Deportivo.
In light of the racial abuses, the game was stopped for a while, with the stadium announcer pleading with the away fans to stop the abuses. Lecce president Saverio Sticchi later revealed that it was Umtiti himself who urged the game to restart.
Lecce fans, though, were quick to come to the defence of Umtiti and started chanting his name shortly after the racial abuses from the away fans were heard. The whole incident left Umtiti in tears, with the defender even taking to Instagram to express his feeling after the game.
“Great win #forzalecce,” he wrote on Instagram with a photo of him celebrating in the stadium.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also backed the Barcelona defender. “Solidarity with Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda – let’s shout it loud and clear: NO TO RACISM! May the huge majority of fans, who are good people, stand up to shut up all the racists once and for all!” he wrote.
This is not the first time racism has been under focus after the restart of club football, with Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior becoming a subject of racial abuse in the game against Real Valladolid, prompting La Liga to lodge an official complaint and increase measures to curb racism.