lunedì 28 aprile 2014

Soccer: Renzi, Prandelli eat banana to back Alves - update

Premier, Italy coach show solidarity against racism

(ANSA) - Rome, April 28 - Premier Matteo Renzi and Italy coach Cesare Prandelli on Monday ate a banana, copying Barcelona player Dani Alves's reaction to racist abuse and giving a symbolic demonstration of solidarity. Brazilian defender Alves won international acclaim for his intelligent response to having a banana thrown at him from the stands while taking a corner during Sunday's 3-2 win at Villarreal - peeling it and then taking a bite. Renzi and Prandelli showed their support during a meeting with Italy's Five-A-Side football team, who were recently crowned European champions. Many other high-profile Italians also hailed Alves. "Bravo Dani Alves. Fight racism forever. With elegance and imagination," tweeted former immigration minister Cecile Kyenge, whose short tenure as Italy's first black minister under ex-premier Enrico Letta was plagued by racist verbal attacks and gestures from the anti-immigrant Northern League party. Solidarity ballooned across social networks and media. "We are all Daniel Alves," wrote Fanny Neguesha, the girlfriend of AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, an Italian of Ghanian descent. Balotelli's Belgian model girlfriend, who is also of colour, posted an Instagram with a photo of herself with three friends saying, "If you think people of color are monkeys...well, let me say that I am proud to be a monkey". "I was watching the game. I played with Dani Alves. I felt like a party to this offense. I immediately felt great sorrow.

Here racism is spoken of, but I come to associate it with a very deep ignorance," said AS Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, an Italian footballer who played with Dani Alves during a stint at Sevilla. "Sport has demonstrated many times its own dissociation from every discrimination," De Sanctis added, speaking at an event for cancer awareness held at the Italian Olympic Committee headquarters in Rome. 

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