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Atalanta pledge action after Napoli’s Koulibaly racially abused

Atalanta said on Monday that they will pursue supporters who racially abused Kalidou Koulibaly after the Senegal captain was once again targeted by fans in Italy.

Videos circulated on social media of Atalanta fans racially abusing Koulibaly, who has been abused several times this season, during Napoli’s 3-1 win in Bergamo which moved them level with Serie A leaders AC Milan.

“Any behaviour not in line with the principles of civility and good manners, which have always been defended by the club, will be strongly opposed,” Atalanta said in a statement.

“We don’t want to give any publicity to people who have nothing to do with us and as such we will work with the relevant authorities in order to protect the image of the club and the city of Bergamo.”

Racist chants or taunts are a regular occurence during Serie A matches, albeit usually from a minority of hardcore fans aligned with the far-right.

Koulibaly has been a regular target as a prominent player for Napoli, who as southern Italy’s biggest club are frequently subjected to prejudiced chants from fans in Italy’s wealthier north.

Just before the international break Verona fans were given a one-match stand ban after their fans racially abused Koulibaly and his Nigerian teammate Victor Osimhen as well as rolling out a litany of anti-Naples chants.

In 2018 Inter Milan fans — whose hardcore are well known for long-standing ties to hard-right politics — aimed en masse monkey chants at Koulibaly which led to Inter having to play two home matches behind closed doors.

The abuse was such that Napoli had asked for that match to be stopped three times without success, with the mayor of Milan Beppe Sala subsequently asking Koulibaly — who was sent off for sarcastically applauding the referee—for forgiveness on behalf of Italy’s most cosmopolitan city.

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