Italian footballer Michele Marconi has been accused of racism after allegedly making a remark about “slaves” toward Nigerian player Joel Obi during the Serie B clash between Pisa and Chievo.
Chievo have alleged that Obi was racially abused during Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Pisa, with striker Marconi said to have uttered the phrase “the slave revolt” in his opponent’s direction during the first half.
“Following the racist phrase ‘the slave revolt’ said by the Pisa player Michele Marconi to the midfielder Joel Obi during the first half of the Pisa–Chievo Verona match, the club expresses the utmost solidarity towards its player, the subject of a slanderous and bleak phrase, which has nothing to do with the most elementary and basic values of sport, ethics and respect,” Chievo said in a statement after the match.
🤝 NOI STIAMO CON JO 🤝E diciamo forte 🛑🛑 NO AL RAZZISMO 🛑🛑✋ #NoToRacism ✋ pic.twitter.com/72IHg9CBA1
“AC Chievo Verona strongly condemns and stigmatizes the racist behavior suffered by Joel Obi, and regrets that a phrase heard by most on the field was not followed by any disciplinary measures: neither by the referee, nor by the assistant and fourth official, nor the federal prosecutor.
“AC Chievo Verona, always a staunch supporter of the values of ethics, respect and fair play – will continue to remain at the forefront of the fight against any form of racism or violence, on and off any playing field.”
Obi, 29, has spent much of his career in Italy, playing for San Siro giants Inter Milan as well as Parma and Torino. He has 17 caps to his name for the Nigerian national team.
Former Italy youth international Marconi played 77 minutes of Tuesday’s clash before being replaced by Alessandro De Vitis, in a game which saw Pisa reduced to 10 men when Nicholas Siega was sent off late on for a second yellow card, before Chievo leveled the score at 2-2 in the 90th minute.
Pisa have denied the allegations towards 31-year-old former Atalanta star Marconi, saying the the club “distances itself” from Chievo’s statement
“Our player has also confirmed that he did not make any offensive remarks to the opposition player, let alone in a racist context,” read a Pisa statement.
“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 behavior from anyone.”
Football is increasingly alert to allegations of racism amid ongoing campaigns linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.
READ MORE: Walkouts and wokeness: Champions League scenes show sport is hostage to social justice campaigns – and fans will suffer
Earlier this season, players from Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain walked off during the first half of their Champions League match after claims the Romanian fourth official racially abused a member of the Basaksehir coaching staff by identifying him as “the black one” when speaking to the match referee in his native language.
Italy has also seen high-profile racism incidents in recent seasons involving players such as former Juventus star Moise Kean, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, and Italy striker Mario Balotelli.