‘We are all Koulibaly’: Napoli fans don masks to support racism victim
Thousands of Napoli fans showed their support for Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly who was subjected to racist chanting at Inter Milan in midweek by wearing masks and holding up his picture before their team’s Serie A game against Bologna on Dec. 29.
And fans showed their solidarity with Koulibaly, wearing masks with the player’s face, as well as t-shirts bearing his name.
“It doesn’t matter the color of the skin. It doesn’t matter religion. It doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for. Football, like all sports, is a game. And all the games are passion, fun, freedom: And in freedom we are all alike! Tomorrow we will all be koulibaly!,” Ghoulam tweeted before the match.
European football governing body UEFA said that the correct anti-racism protocol had not been followed during the midweek game.
And Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Dec. 29 that they would have been in favor of the match being suspended temporarily.
“There was a bit of confusion after Milan, we never asked for the suspension, but three times a temporary interruption.
“UEFA confirmed that we are right, it surprises me that the president of the referees federation disagrees.
“I hope it will never happen again or we will walk off the pitch.”
Ancelotti added: “50,000 people calling Koulibaly’s name is quite a show, there has been a good feeling throughout the city.
“Kalidou is very popular, he has had messages from many sportsmen and it is a sign that it is not so difficult to improve things.”
Meanwhile, there were also banners before Saturday’s match between Parma and Roma in memory of 39-year-old Inter Milan supporter Daniele Belardinelli, who was killed during the pre-match clashes.
“Ciao Dede” and “an ultra never dies, Daniele with us” were two of the banners remembering Belardinelli who had been banned from the San Siro between 2007 and 2017 for violence.