Seria A introduces Anti-Racism campaign using monkey artwork

Seria A launched an anti-racism initiative that attracted controversy with the choice of monkey-themed paintings. 

Italy’s top-flight launched a campaign against racism on Monday to fight back what CEO Luigi De Siervo described as “the evil” that “ruins” the beautiful game football.

The heart of the three-pronged initiative is a trio of paintings from Simone Fugazzotto, an artist renowned for using primates in his work, which will also be permanently displayed at Seria A’s headquarters in Milan.

However, many social media users accused the people behind the campaign as insensitive given the continued incidents of black footballers being subjected to monkey chants as a form of racial abuse.

Fugazzotto insists the three apes described as being western, Asian and black, with three different colored markings around the eyes, which was done to highlight the stupidity of prejudice bases on skin color.

De Siervo defended and explained the artwork formed part of a new initiative using cultural, sporting and repressive measures to tackle racism. With this, all the Seria A teams are asked to sign an anti-racism charter and put forward representatives for an official body to combat racial abuse.

There will also be extra cameras added, which use facial-recognition software in stadiums to help the police identify abusers. 

Italian football has always been encouraged to take stronger action against racism following some big controversies. This season, Brescia striker Mario Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands after receiving racial taunts, while money chants were aimed at Romelu Lukaku in Inter’s win at Cagliari.

Hellas Verona, Brescia’s opponent that day, were ordered to close a part of their stadium for one game, while an extremist who defended the chants against Balotelli was banned for 11 years. However, Inter’s opponents escaped punishment following the Lukaku incident.

Corriere Dello Sport also caused controversy recently by using Romelu Lukaku’s and Chris Smalling’s image with a headline “Black Friday”.

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