Alessandro Florenzi calls for ‘concrete action’ in battle against racist abuse

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

AC Milan defender Alessandro Florenzi believes the time for talking about racist abuse in football is over and has called for “concrete action” to tackle the issue.

Milan’s players walked off the pitch during last Saturday’s 3-2 Serie A victory Udinese after goalkeeper Mike Maignan had reported gestures from the crowd behind his goal to referee Fabio Maresca.

The Udine club, which has banned one spectator for life as a result of the incident, have since been ordered to play their next home game behind closed doors, while police have handed out five-year bans to four more supporters.

However, asked about the events at the Bluenergy Stadium and the fall-out since, Florenzi told Milan TV: “I think that Mike has felt supported by a family, which is exactly what we are.

“When these incidents occur, I think it’s wrong to just say ‘enough’. The time for talk has long gone, concrete action is needed.

“Saying ‘enough’ is pointless. We need to lay solid foundations to tackle the issue. That’s what all institutions should do to stop such incidents occurring.

“As a team, I think we made an important gesture. I’d also like to commend the referee, Maresca, who I think dealt with the situation in the best way possible.”

Milan return to action on Saturday evening, when they host seventh-placed Bologna at the San Siro.

They head into the weekend sitting third in the table, but five points adrift of derby rivals Inter, who are second with a game in hand on both their neighbours and leaders Juventus.

Milan have won their last four league games and have tasted defeat only once in the nine fixtures they have played in all competitions since.

In contrast, Bologna are without a win in four in all competitions and have not collected all three points in Serie A since they beat fifth-placed Atalanta 1-0 on December 23.

 

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Florenzi said: “We’re building our path and taking it game by game. We’re focused on Bologna and not thinking about other matches and other teams.”

 

Bologna will once again be without the injured Alexis Saelemaekers and are working to get 20-year-old defender Mihajlo Ilic up to speed following his arrival from Partizan Belgrade, and head coach Thiago Motta knows they will have their work cut out at the San Siro.

He told a press conference: “They [Milan] are one of the candidates for the Scudetto, they always start very strongly.

“On Saturday we will have to try to impose our game, trying to be determined about what we want to do.”

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