Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi has called on white players to take a more active role in the fight against racism in football – and says walking off the pitch isn’t the right way to deal with discrimination.
The 32-year-old France international is in his third season in Serie A, with the league having recently blundered into another racism storm with its controversial monkey artwork campaign.
Teams leaving the pitch under the orders of the match referee is part of UEFA’s official protocol for dealing with racism at matches, but Matuidi doesn’t think it is the right call.
“It’s stupidity, these people have no place in a football stadium,” he said on RMC Sport.
“I tell myself that this is not the right solution.
“I have thought about it, but I do not think it is necessarily the right thing to do. It would be a defeat, doing that would be like saying that they won.
“I will tell you what I really think: I think it would be good if a strong statement came from a person who is not of colour.
“It would be more striking. It would be great. We must all be aware of this scourge.”
High-profile incidents involving abuse of players such as Mario Balotelli, Romelu Lukaku and Kalidou Koulibaly have meant the spotlight is rarely off Italian football when it comes to racism – but authorities around Europe are struggling to get to grips with the problem.
Speaking on French TV, Matuidi was also asked about his time at Paris Saint-Germain.
He was part of the PSG team which lost 6-1 to Barcelona in March 2017, throwing away a 4-0 first-leg lead in the Champions League last 16.
“The worst moment of my career?” he pondered.
“No, that was at Euro 2016, but it was hard. At that time, in the locker room, I said to myself: ‘It’s not possible, I don’t want to play football anymore!’
“I was ashamed of myself. But that’s football and I had some great moments in Paris. I keep wonderful memories and the supporters and people who love the club, I think they have a good memory of Blaise Matuidi.”