- The use of monkeys to depict an anti-racism message did not ride well with some Serie A clubs
- Roma and AC Milan came out to state there were better ways of relaying the message
- A number of black players in the Serie A have already been subjected to some form of abuse so far this season
Serie A giants AS Roma and AC Millan have come out to viciously condemn a controversial anti-racism campaign in the country.
Italy has been a hotbed for controversy along racial lines in recent months and Serie A did little to help the country’s reputation after resorting to using images of monkeys in a Say No to racism campaign.
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The No to Racism posters distinctly contains three monkeys in different color themes – a move that ignited mass outrage on the internet.
In a statement, AC Milan faulted the artwork, as the club explained there were better ways of relaying an anti-racism message.
"Art can be powerful, but we strongly disagree with the use of monkeys as images in the fight against racism," said the AC Milan statement.
Similarly, Roma expressed shock at the tactics supposedly used to combat racism in football in Italy.
“We understand the league wants to tackle racism but we don't believe this is the right way to do it,” a club statement read.
The two clubs are not the only parties seemingly irked by the latest campaign as ex-football players also took to condemn it.
Former Everton defender Sylvian Distin was particularly critical as he claimed it was hard to understand how racism was “being fought with something that looks like racism”.
The brains behind the controversial artwork Simone Fugazzotto on Monday defended the campaign saying he was simply trying to change the perception of some images.
"I decided to portray monkeys to talk about racism because they are the metaphor for human beings. Last year I was at the stadium to see Inter v Napoli [a match in which Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was racially abused] and I felt humiliated, everyone was shouting 'monkey' at Koulibaly, a player I respect,” he said as quoted by BBC.
Earlier in the month, a local Italian outlet was on the spot for an explosively offensive headline which had an image of on-loan Roma defender Chris Smalling alongside Lukaku on the splash with the caption Black Friday.
The headline was a bizarre attempt to hype the match between Roma and Inter Millan.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Virgil van Dijk has been named men's player of the year, an award voted by the Football Supporters' Association.
The Liverpool defender beat Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, teammate Sadio Mane, Tottenham's Heung-Min Son in the top three votes.
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