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Verona, Pisa trade blames over racist abuse of Joel Obi

Chievo Verona's Joel Obi subjected to racist abuse


Italian Serie B sides Chievo Verona and Pisa are at daggers drawn following racist abuse directed at Nigeria international Joel Obi during their match on Tuesday.

Both teams had played out a 2-2 draw but ugly dent centered on Pisa’s Michele Marconi who was alleged to have used the phrase “the revolt of the slaves” towards Obi in the first half of the match.

Chievo Verona said in a statement that Obi was “the object of a shameful and slanderous phrase that has nothing to do with the most basic and elementary values of sport, ethics and respect”.

The club further expressed disappointment that no disciplinary measures were taken against the offender.

“Chievo Verona condemns and strongly stigmatises the racist behaviour that Joel Obi was subjected to and regrets the fact that a phrase which was heard by other people on the pitch was not followed by any disciplinary action by the referee, the assistant, the fourth official or the FIGC prosecutor.

Expectedly Pisa Sporting Club denied the allegation insisting that their player has equally denied making the comment.

Pisa said the club “distances itself” from Chievo’s statement, saying the alleged insult was not detected by match officials or the microphones around the pitch.

“Our player has also confirmed that he did not make any offensive remarks to the opposition player, let alone in a racist context,” the statement read.

“Pisa Sporting Club has always been active in social fields and collaborated with integration projects in aid of groups that are most in need, following the example set by our fan base which is known all over Italy because of its charitable initiatives and stance in the fight against racism.

“For these reasons, Pisa Sporting Club does not accept lessons on behaviour from anyone.”

Obi has spent most of his career in Italy, playing for Inter Milan, Parma and Torino as well as the Nigeria national team.

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Anti-racism stakeholders across the globe believe harsh disciplinary action like suspension of players for up to a season is one of the ways of checkmating racist comments and clipping the wings of players, coaches and fans who wag their tongues carelessly thus denting the image of the beautiful game.

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