Udinese appealed the sanction received on Tuesday from a match to be played behind closed doors for the racist insults uttered by some of its supporters against French goalkeeper Mike Maignan last weekend.
The Serie A club, who have since banned five supporters for life, were punished after Maignan was the target of the insults during the first half of last Saturday's 3-2 defeat to AC Milan.
“We thought for much of the day whether we were going to appeal or not,” Udinese managing director Franco Collavino said in a statement released Wednesday evening. “After reviewing the documents, we realized that we had to act to protect the reputation of our club, which is historically multi-ethnic, and the efforts we have made to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts,” he explained.
Collavino also assured that the sanction imposed by the disciplinary committee of the Italian Football League was, according to him, unfair due to the small number of people who attacked Maignan, unlike other episodes in Italy which involved thousands of supporters . “We want to stand up for our fans, who have been unfairly treated by a decision that punishes an entire fan base for the appalling actions of a small number of people,” Collavino added.
Saturday was not the first time Maignan was the victim of racial insults from supporters in Italy, having been targeted by a Juventus Turin fan in September 2021. On Sunday, the 28-year-old took Italian football authorities to task, saying: “If you do nothing, you will also be complicit.”
Italy, a country governed by a coalition led by the far-right Brothers of Italy party, has many groups of fascist supporters, particularly among the "ultras" who provide most of the atmosphere in the stadiums.