Napoli has confirmed they will walk off the field if racist chants continue after then Italian government and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) fail to take stand against racism.
Napoli player Kalidou Koulibaly has been the subject of racist abuse, most notably in the Inter-Napoli fixture late last month where monkey noises were directed towards him throughout.
The game finished 1-0 to Inter after Koulibaly was sent off in the 81st minute, however, Koulibaly took to Twitter to underline the pride he has in his skin colour.
“I’m sorry about the defeat and especially to have left my brothers! But I am proud of the colour of my skin. Of being French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man,” he said.
Inter were subsequently given a stadium ban following the racist chants, however, Napoli believed the game should have been halted on three separate occasions after the referee asked for a warning to be read out for racist abuse.
Now it has been revealed in a summit between Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the FIGC and club ultras that the referees do not have the power to stop play due to racist abuse.
Salvini claimed it was important to “differentiate between real racism and mere football rivalry.”
FIGC Prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro told Italian news site Ii Mattino there should be more clarity within the rules surrounding racism and football.
“The most important thing is that someone makes the decision because football cannot be held hostage by a few hundred people,” he said.
“Gravina said that referees cannot be expected to stop play. That’s fine, so now the proposal to give the decision to the FIGC will be discussed and, if ratified, put into action.
“Those who are on the sidelines can have a better perception of what is coming from the stands than those on the pitch. What matters now is to have clear rules and respect them.
“Until now, the FIGC observer’s job was only to signal to the referee the existence of racist abuse, but now he can take action himself.”
With little action taken and Italian authorities insisting play should not be stopped, Napoli may very well stage a walk-off in the next instance of racism.
Napoli are next set to face Sassuolo in the Copa Italia round of 16.