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November 3, 2021 4:52 pm

Top Soccer League in Italy Adopts Internationally-Accepted Definition of Antisemitism

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Supporters of AC Milan packed into the away supporters end at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico during a match against AS Roma. Photo: Reuters/Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto

Italy’s top soccer league has officially adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which provides guidance to governments and voluntary associations on identifying and responding to anti-Jewish rhetoric and discrimination.

The Serie A division, composed of the leading 20 soccer clubs competing in the Italian league, adopted the IHRA definition on Nov. 1 at a meeting devoted to “The Fight against Antisemitism in Football: European Agreements.” The parley, initiated by Milena Santerini, Italy’s national coordinator for the fight against antisemitism, including representatives of the Italian Jewish community and the president of Serie A, Paolo Dal Pino.

The league pledged to organize training courses on combating antisemitism for club officials and to encourage clubs to include a regulation within the their code of ethics “as a key element in combating antisemitism, and of drawing up a dedicated memorandum of understanding to combat prejudice, hate speech and expressions of violence.”

As with other countries in Europe, Italian soccer has been plagued by racist crowd chants targeting Black players, along with other expressions of racist and antisemitic behavior.

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Last month, hardcore “ultra” supporters of Rome side Lazio sparked outrage after they raised their right arms in the traditional fascist greeting while chanting “Duce, Duce,” the title adopted by Italy’s wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, during a 3-1 victory over Inter Milan.

Following that display, Noemi Di Segni, head of the Italian Jewish communal organization UCEI, urged the country’s soccer authorities to “intervene with the utmost urgency and effectiveness.”

Serie A’s adoption of the IHRA definition comes almost one year after its endorsement by the top clubs playing in the English Premier League.

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