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Napoli will appeal Koulibaly suspension, says club lawyer

SoccerNews in Serie A 28 Dec 2018

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The alleged racial abuse Kalidou Koulibaly endured before being sent off against Inter will prompt Napoli to appeal his two-game ban, according to the club’s lawyer.

Koulibaly, 27, received two yellow cards in quick succession at San Siro, first for a challenge on Matteo Politano and then for sarcastically applauding the referee.

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti claimed after the match his defender “was nervous and the mood at the time was not the best” due to crowd taunts seemingly directed at Koulibaly.

Ancelotti said the game should have been suspended and, in a subsequent statement, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina indicated he will push for referees to be given more power to halt play in the event of racism.

The visitors were reduced to nine men in stoppage time when Lorenzo Insigne was shown a straight red for kicking Keita Balde Diao.

“We will take some time to study what to do,” Napoli lawyer Mattia Grassani told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“We’ll probably appeal against the two games for Insigne, while for the ban given to Koulibaly for applauding the referee, one of the reasons for the two-game ban, we’ll go for an appeal.

“The regulations are clear: the game should have been interrupted, as also stated by [FIGC] federal prosecutor [Giuseppe] Pecoraro.

“The match was distorted by the atmosphere. If measures had already been taken in the first half, perhaps those idiots would not have continued and Koulibaly would not have asked for the suspension [of play].

“The credibility of Serie A has been undermined and a bad image of our football has been given.”

Inter captain Mauro Icardi and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo have lent their voices to widespread condemnation of the abuse, but Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini attempted to play down the incident.

“Racism is the stuff of idiots in 2018, but we should not put everything in the same pot,” he told Tiki Taka. 

“[Leonardo] Bonucci was booed by Milan fans, is that also racism? The healthy teasing among fans is not to be considered racism.”

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