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Pioli: Racist fans just a minority

Lazio head coach Stefano Pioli condemned the club’s supporters for alleged racist chants against Kalidou Koulibaly, but said those fans were just a minority.

Play was halted for five minutes by referee Massimiliano Irrati at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday due to alleged racist chants against Napoli’s Koulibaly during his side’s 2-0 win.

However, while Pioli slammed the actions of the fans, he said stopping the game just gave them “a sense of importance”.

“Discriminatory chants should not exist. People need to have values like respect and education, never forgetting them,” Pioli told Rai Sport.

“Mind you, I am not sure I would’ve stopped play, as I don’t think it helps. The chants are unjustifiable, but doing this we give a sense of importance to a tiny minority of troublemakers. It certainly wasn’t the entire stadium.

“I find it so hard to understand racist chants when we have black players in our squad.”

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri slammed the actions of the Lazio fans.

“I have to compliment the match referee because the situation was becoming embarrassing,” Sarri told Mediaset Premium.

“The lads all felt sorry for Koulibaly. But I think he took it all in his stride because he is very intelligent, has a good head on his shoulders and was being helped by his team-mates.

“Though I do think the suspension did affect his focus.”

Napoli’s 2-0 win saw them maintain a two-point lead atop the Serie A table.

Thu 4 Feb, 2016
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