Captain of amateur team hospitalised after defending team-mate from racism14 March 2017

InanattackthathascreatedheadlinesacrossItaly,a28-year-oldamateurfootballerforateamontheoutskirtsofTurin,wasattackedandhospitalisedonSundayafterdefendinganAfricanteam-matewhowasraciallyabusedduringamatch.

Gianluca Cigna, who captains nell’ Atletico Villaretto, in the Turin third division, was taken to hospital in a serious condition and risks losing an eye, after he was attacked by the parents of an opponent from Mappanese who had waited for him at the exit to the stadium. The attack was motivated by his defence of a team-mate Mamadou Mbaye.

Il calcio non è questo!!L' Atletico Villaretto, la famiglia Cigna e tutto lo staff di Udas sono con te!FORZA GIANLUCA!!!#DajeGianlu

Posted by UDAS L'Universo dei Dilettanti allo Sbaraglio on Monday, 13 March 2017

Mamadou Mbaye tells the story: “It all started during the game, a player of Mappanese began to provoke me. At one point during the game we were involved in a tackle, I extended my arm and the referee awarded a foul against me. I was given a yellow card, for me it was the second, and I was expelled. Just then a player of the opposing team screamed at me: Fuck you n*****.

“People heard the phrase although it was out of earshot of the referee, who is also an African. Gianluca, as captain, defended me and after the game the players of Mappanese apologized. The police arrived during the match, asked me what happened and I was told to leave. My friends latter called me to tell me what had happened”.

The Atletico coach Alessandro Padalino said: “Mappanese players appeared to go over the top right away, the only person who kept his cool was their coach. They started to target Mbaye and Gianluca tried to defend him. What happened after the game is a lousy episode that leaves everyone speechless.”

The Mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino joined the condemnation: “This shameful spectacle took place on the sidelines of a game of football. Sports should teach the team spirit, to help each other, to overcome the difficulties together, to respect others. Yet obviously there are still those who confuse the team with the herd, cheering the insult.”

Gianluca Cigna remains in hospital and has given this interview: