“Antisemitic chants in the stadiums’ curves, a broad response is needed”
Antisemitic and racist hatred is an old issue which has never stopped corroding the curves of Italian stadiums. It is a lacerating theme whose consequences spread far beyond the cheering circles and the ninety minutes of a football match. Noemi Di Segni, president of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, highlighted this problem during an extensive interview granted to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the most important national sports newspaper.
This is an in-depth conversation that takes its cue from the latest news episode but touches different open questions of an issue which is extensive and for the majority still unresolved, also due to single clubs’ responsibility. During the interview Di Segni says: “I experience every kind of chant, whether antisemite or which glorifies other forms of racism, as a stab”.
A reaction to this is essential, she then continues. This is “a work that can’t only come from Jewish people: the response to discomfort, to evil, to the sorrow provoked by chants or banners, calls in many different subjects”. Among others “football industry, politics, the judiciary but also schools”.
About this matter Di Segni observes: “Those moments when you start living football, when you start playing it, cheering it, are fundamental. We need to respond to this offensive banalization according to which calling your opponent Jewish is an insult. It is a matter of culture, that regards every family”.
It is clear, she then adds, that politics and the judiciary have a responsibility in this matter. Above all “we are struck by the lack of timeliness in some circumstances; we also know that very often the same people subject to Daspo (Ban on Access to Sporting Events) can be found in different stadiums and law is not enforced”. The example given is the one concerning the stickers of Anne Frank with yellow and red t-shirt that caused a lot of indignation in the autumn of 2017. “We took action, we got the lawsuit started, the perpetrators have been identified, but due to a series of procedural technicalities we are still far from the conclusion of the investigation. Hate crime needs to be better defined”, demands Di Segni. This is “responsibility of the legislator, but it is not only a matter of rules, it is also a matter of culture”.
As for the relationships with football and its institutions, the president of UCEI comments: “We are working on this, also in terms of rules that can be inserted in regulations and statutes. When we talk one-to-one with the clubs there is great willingness but then, very often, everything is referred back to the Federation, with which we are of course in touch. What I want to say is that the initiative during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not enough, it can’t be enough”. Sometimes, adds Di Segni, “it’s impossible to respond with an immediate reaction”. Effort “is the right word. Yes well, it is interesting, let’s see, but not always all of this produces a reaction and an intervention”.
The interview to La Gazzetta dello sport has been commented among others by the number one of Italian football Gabriele Gravina. “The boorish chants during the derby? They must be fought with forms of repression and campaigns of education, starting from families and schools. Apart from racial or territorial discrimination, this is a lacerating wound of our society”. These are his words at the end of an event held in Rome. “Together with the president of UCEI we are creating collaborative pathways. Repressing, educating and especially preventing: this is the answer”.
Translated by Laura Cattani and revised by Martina Bandini students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.