Juventus star forward Paulo Dybala has urged football bodies to take action against racism in the sport as it is at a tripping point. In April 2019, Moise Kean, then affiliated with Juventus would hear monkey chants form a quarter of Cagliari fans during a Serie A fixture. The striker facing the racist vitriol netted a goal and defiantly raised his arms in the air to shut the abusive crowd. Cagliari escaped from the punishment it deserved after the incident.
Argentine international Dybala who is currently attached with the roster of Serie A giants, Juventus is gearing up to restart the Italian football season opposite AC Milan in Coppa Italia tie on Friday. La Joya recollects the impact it had on former Juventus striker and is of the view that football authorities in Italy need to introduce tougher penalties in a league that has a disturbing history of racist abuse.
“It really wasn’t easy for him and I’ve experienced various situations of racism with other Juventus teammates in other stadiums,” Dybala told CNN in an exclusive interview. “Many Italian stadiums have certain racism against some players — it has also happened to Mario Balotelli, it has also happened to Miralem Pjanic in a game against Brescia and I think that Italian punishments should be tougher.
“If not, then it will be us players who will have to take measures into our own hands to that this does not continue to happen, because we are talking about one of the biggest championships in the world, where millions of people are watching and if they see that there is racism and no action is taken, people get emboldened and continue doing it.
“People who have to take action need to take it, or surely in a short time it will be players who will directly take action. As has happened many times in the past, many players are deciding to leave the pitch or not play and it seems to me a perfect decision because it is something that should not happen in a country. If society, in this case the Italian Federation, does not decide to do anything, the players should be the ones to act. Or, as the referees have done many times in the past, stop the match so that these people don’t continue committing that crime.”
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is yet to respond on the comments made by the Argentine.
The killing of the George Floyd, a black American on May 25 under the custody of police in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests in US that eventually spread across the globe. Since the death of Floyd, a number of Bundesliga players and team have added their voices to the demonstrations and have backed the protests on the pitch. Jadon Sancho, Marcus Thuram, Weston McKennie, and Achraf Hakimi are the notable names that came in for the support of the people of color.
The Argentine believes that we should all unitedly fight for the equity for black communities and they should not be left alone to deal with the racists.
“Sometimes it is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who suffers racism when you don’t really ever suffer it, because you don’t feel it,” Dybala says. “But you know what is going on because of having a teammate who suffers racism not only because of their skin color, but because of the country the are from that people discriminate against or that see as something bad.
“It is also not only because of skin color, but people are discriminated against because of everything. I have seen Asian players who were with me in the youth team and these things are sad. Luckily, my family educated me differently and I can respect people for what they are, for their way of thinking and not because of how they are dressed, what country they are from or the color of their skin. I think everyone should grow up like that, but obviously it’s not the case. Here, it is not the case that only people of color that should be fighting racism. Here we all have to be united as a society, as a world to do it.”
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and teammate Leonardo Bonucci were bashed by fans and footballing fraternity for talking light of the incident and expressing controversial remarks after the game. Bonucci said Kean ahs to take 50-50 of the blame for the racial slurs thrown at him while Allegri also shifted the blame on the young striker saying that he was wrong for celebrating after delivering the goal.
“At that time, they were not the right words for what was happening,” “The Jewel” said.
“You have to be very cautions when talking about certain things and delivering the right message that you want to say, because often the words are not takes as one really wants to say. Of course, both the player and coach can learn from certain things, because I know them so well and I know that they don’t have racist thoughts. Perhaps at the time they did not use the words they wanted to say. So, I repeat, I think that fighting racism is something that we have to do, so that does not happen on a football field.”