On loan Barcelona defender suffered from racist chants during Lecce’s 2-1 victory over Lazio on Wednesday night, as the scourge of the game continues to rear its ugly head ever more frequently.
Just a week after Vinicius Junior was the victim of racist behaviour for the fifth time in his Real Madrid career, Umtiti suffered a similar experience in Serie A. The French defender played 90 minutes during the match and on the final whistle broke down in tears.
“The racist chants have been subdued by courage. All the ‘giallorosso’ people have shouted a single name, that of Umtiti,” read a Lecce tweet after the match, referencing the reception Umtiti received from the home support.
𝑰 𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒊 𝒓𝒂𝒛𝒛𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊 𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒐 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒊 𝑺𝑶𝑴𝑴𝑬𝑹𝑺𝑰 𝒅𝒂 𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊 𝒅'𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒈𝒊𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒐! 𝑻𝒖𝒕𝒕𝒐 𝒊𝒍 𝒑𝒐𝒑𝒐𝒍𝒐 𝒈𝒊𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒓𝒐𝒔𝒔𝒐 𝒉𝒂 𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒛𝒊𝒂𝒕𝒐 𝒂𝒅 𝒖𝒓𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒖𝒏 𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒎𝒆 @samumtiti !
— U.S. Lecce (@OfficialUSLecce) January 4, 2023
After the match, President Saverio Sticchio Damiani explained to GdS (via MD) that Umtiti was keen to continue playing on through the adversity.
“When the referee stopped the game, waiting for the announcer to stop the racist chants, Umtiti asked him to restart it because he wanted to respond to the insults received on the field. He reacted like a true champion.”
UMTITI UMTITI 💛❤️ pic.twitter.com/xl0YkVjJhe
— Matteo D'Oria (@MatteoDoria99) January 4, 2023
After the match, Umtiti published a message on his Instagram saying “Just football, fun, joy. The rest doesn’t count.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino also took to social media in order to express his support for the French defender.
“Let’s shout loud and clear: no to racism. May the vast majority of fans, who are good people, stand up to silence all racists once and for all.”
Infantino’s message is in the right direction, but as football has consistently since its inception, it is struggles to deal effectively with racism. As head of the organisation that governs football, nobody is more responsible for that impotence than Infantino himself.