Thuram condemns former club Juventus over Balotelli incident05 May 2009

Lilian Thuram believes Juventus should accept their punishment of playing behind closed doors in the wake of their fans racially abusing Mario Balotelli.

And Thuram, an ambassador for the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network, added that he wasnt surprised about the racial insults to Balotelli by Juventus supporters.

“I’m not surprised. Racism exists in society and Balotelli is a novelty for the Italians.”

When asked in what way, he said: “Because he’s Italian and black. When I was playing in Italy, many coaches and players used to tell me that the French National Team wasn’t the real one because of its black players”.

“Racism is deep-rooted within our society, regardless of the countries. We made some progress in France, but it’s still there. If there’s more black players in our national team it is due to colonialism”.

“It should be explained that an Italian citizen can be black; that black people are not all Africans, but also French, American, Danish. It’s a matter of education”.

The Balotelli case was defined a racism matter at first, then afterwards downgraded by the footballing world to a matter of ignorance. Thuram said:

“Ignorance hides many things, avoiding the need to bring into question the whole society. Instead we should be discussing it, because racism is cultural. For ages society has been based on the prejudice of white western superiority. I wouldn’t be amazed if those who booed Balotelli were surprised by the controversy that followed”.

Thuram also backed moves to stop matches in the event of racist chants.

“This is good if it makes people think about what they are doing. The message to spread is that you can’t do and say whatever you want at the stadium”.

On Juve appealing against the match behind closed-doors, he said:

“I wouldn’t have done it. The directors can’t silence the people that go to the stadium, but an appeal is like saying that what happened is nothing serious. The punishment should have been accepted so as to disassociate from the supporters”.