AC Milan have reacted angrily after they were punished for the behaviour of their fans during their defeat to Juventus on Sunday.
Angered after Milan lost to Napoli last month, for the first time in nearly 30 years, in a match that ended in acrimony caused by Mario Balotelli’s red card after he shockingly missed a penalty, Milan’s travelling supporters sang anti-Napoli songs.
“We are not Neapolitans" was the relatively benign chant that landed Milan in hot-water.
It is perceived to be a territorial slur, mocking the status of the relatively poorer people of Southern Italian cities like Naples and Northern cities like Milan.
But frankly, in a country blighted by racism in football and society, Milan’s €50 000 fine and the ruling that they must play their next home game behind closed doors is quite bizarre.
"To say I'm furious would be putting it mildly," said shocked Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani.
"I understand that racism is a big problem, a problem everywhere in the world but territorial discrimination is another thing entirely."
To add salt to their wounds, Milan’s French defender Philippe Mexes was slapped with a four-match ban for punching Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Mexes was sent off for picking up two yellow cards during the game, and his punch was spotted later with the use of video evidence.