Former Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi has been forced to deny he is racist after claiming there were too many black players in Italy’s youth set-up.
Sacchi, 68, criticised the number of “foreigners” in the lower leagues at an awards ceremony.
According to reports, Sacchi said: “In our youth sector there are too many blacks.”
He later clarified: “I just wanted to underline the fact that we’re losing our national pride and identity.”
Sacchi attended the Viareggio Tournament this month, regarded as the most prestigious youth tournament in Italy.
“I’m not racist and my history as a coach shows that, but watching at the Viareggio Cup makes me think there are too many coloured players,” he said.
“Business interests now come first. Italy has no dignity, it has no pride: you shouldn’t have squads including 15 foreigners.”
When asked to clarify his comments by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sacchi said: “I have been misrepresented, do you really think I’m racist?
“I was just saying that I’d watched a match in which there was a team that included four coloured boys. My history speaks for itself, I’ve always trained teams with diverse coloured players and they won a lot, both at Milan and in Madrid.”
So, he has no problems fielding black players, provided they are not Italian.
The concern is not whether Sacchi’s remarks were racist – clearly they are – but that in 2015, he does not recognise them to be so.
The Colombian side Deportivo Cali were forced to abandon their bus after their driver was found to be drunk. Fortunately, police were on hand to help them complete their journey in a police vehicle.
The Cali side said the driver for the trip to Deportes Tolima was not a club employee and that the home side were responsible for providing transport to the game.
“Our squad had to get to the stadium in a police bus after a routine stop on the road there detected that the bus driver was over the legal limit of alcohol,” the club said in a statement.