Inter Millan have been fined €25000 by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) following Inter fans’ racial abuse of Messina’s Ivory Coast international Marc Zoro. Sections of the San Siro crowd monkey chanted whenever Zoro touched the ball, during Messina’s 3-0 away defeat on Sunday 2 April 2005. The punishment would have been more severe if, encouragingly, the majority of Inter fans hadn’t reacted against the racist abuse.
At the two teams’ previous encounter, Zoro received similar abuse, resulting in him becoming clearly traumatised and threatening to leave the pitch. The incident caused international condemnation, sparking a huge debate within Italian football.
This latest incident comes just days after FIFA, the world’s football governing body, imposed strict new sanctions on all its members. The new rules outline minimum punishments for racist offences that FIFA’s member organisations must apply to their own leagues and competitions. Under the new rules, clubs can be docked three points for the first offence, six points for a second and face the possibility of relegation for repeated violations.
Although FIFA has instructed that the new rules are to be implemented immediately, the first test of them is yet to happen. The FIGC has delayed implementing them until 1 July, arguing that they need more time.