Matteo Ghione, a young anti-racist footballer25 January 2006

The footballer Matteo Ghione is nearly 19 and the son of a Brazilian mother and an Italian father. At the moment he plays for FC Bolzano-Bozen 1996 in Italy's Serie D, though he did start his career in the youth scheme at Juventus. We hope to publish an interview with him soon. Here we reproduce an anti-racist statement he made in the wake of the Marc Zoro affair. On his website (http://www.matteo-ghione.it/home.htm). Matteo adopts a clear stance in the fight against discrimination.

“Next Sunday we will take the pitch five minutes later than usual. After the sensational gesture by Messina's Marc Zoro it would appear that football's sleeping conscience has suddenly woken up with a start. I'm sure that on Sunday everyone involved in football will be busting a gut to demonstrate that they have absolutely nothing to do with this sick phenomenon… yeah, right, especially those who are always going on about how they are fighting racism and intolerance in the stadiums! A torrent of words, giant banners on the pitch… But when the journalists have put their pens away and the cameras have stopped filming, can we really be sure that anything will change, that a new era is being ushered in?… Allow me to express a few doubts in this respect. In two weeks' time it's highly likely that hardly anyone will remember Zoro and all their good intentions. The show must go on…!

Racism is a cultural, historical, political and, above all, a societal manifestation that is much more than just abuse from the stands, which is something you get not only in football, but is also something that football can do something about, all the more so because the game is a very important part of Italian society, particularly for young people. The five-minute delay is OK, sure, it's better than nothing… But if we really were to leave the field of play next time and isolate these idiots and their abuse, that would be much better!

(3.12.2005 – Matteo Ghione)