Infantino calls on fans to 'shut up the racists' after Umtiti and Banda abuse

By Sports Desk January 05, 2023

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called on football fans to "stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all" after Samuel Umtiti and Lecce team-mate Lameck Banda were subjected to abuse.

Lecce's 2-1 comeback win over Lazio at Stadio Via del Mare on Wednesday was overshadowed by a section of Lazio fans in the away end aiming racist abuse towards Umtiti and Banda.

The match was halted for several minutes by referee Livio Marinelli and a message was played over the announcer system warning the match would not resume if the chants continued.

Home supporters chanted Umtiti's name in solidarity and he asked for the match to resume, but the Barcelona loanee reportedly left the field in tears at full-time.

"Umtiti asked for the game to resume because he wanted to respond to the insults he received on the pitch. He reacted like a true champion," Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani said after the match.

Lecce condemned the racist abuse in a statement on Wednesday and Umtiti posted a message of his own on social media that read: "Only football, fun, joy. The rest doesn't count."

Umtiti received supportive replies from the likes of Jerome Boateng, Naby Sarr and Alexandre Lacazette, while FIFA chief Infantino also offered his backing for the centre-back and Zambia international Banda.

"Solidarity with Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda – let's shout it loud and clear: No to racism," he wrote alongside photos of Umtiti and Banda in action.

"May the huge majority of fans, who are good people, stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all."

The unsavoury incident came on the first day of Serie A action following a near-two-month break for the World Cup.

Lecce's victory, secured thanks to goals from Gabriel Strefezza and Lorenzo Colombo after Ciro Immobile had given Lazio the lead, moved them up to 12th in Serie A.

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