The racist attack on Nigeria international Joel Obi has caused a disagreement between two Italian Serie B clubs, Chievo Verona and Pisa. Verona which happens to be Joel Obi’s club argued that Pisa’s player Michele Marconi used a racially discriminatory phrase on the Nigerian midfielder, while Pisa defended their player.
According to a statement issued by Chievo Verona after a Serie B match involving them and Pisa on Tuesday, December 22, Michele Marconi singled out Joel Obi to be racially abused. Michele allegedly directed a statement to the 29-year-old Nigerian center-midfielder saying: “the revolt of the slaves”.
The Pisa’s player allegedly made the statement in the first half of the Serie B match which ended 2-2. Chievo Verona described the statement as a “shameful and slanderous phrase”. While Pisa insisted that the club has nothing to do with the statement since the referee of the match didn’t detect the statement during the match.
Chievo Verona did not just stop at describing the racist statement as shameful, the club lamented over the fact that none of the match officials deemed it worthy to attract disciplinary action against Michele who was allowed to play until towards the 77th minute of the match before he was substituted.
A statement from Joel Obi’s club read: “Following the racist phrase ‘the slave revolt’ said by the Pisa player Michele Marconi to the midfielder Joel Obi during the first half of the Pisa – Chievo Verona match, the club expresses the utmost solidarity towards its player, the subject of a slanderous and bleak phrase, which has nothing to do with the most elementary and basic values of sport, ethics, and respect.
“AC Chievo Verona strongly condemns and stigmatizes the racist behavior suffered by Joel Obi, and regrets that a phrase heard by most on the field was not followed by any disciplinary measures: neither by the referee, nor by the assistant and fourth official, nor the federal prosecutor.
“AC Chievo Verona, always a staunch supporter of the values of ethics, respect, and fair play – will continue to remain at the forefront of the fight against any form of racism or violence, on and off any playing field.”
On the other hand, Pisa said in their statement that their player has confirmed to them that “he did not make any offensive remarks to the opposition player (Joel Obi), let alone in a racist context”.
“Pisa Sporting Club has always been active in social fields and collaborated with integration projects in aid of groups that are most in need, following the example set by our fan base which is known all over Italy because of its charitable initiatives and stance in the fight against racism”, the statement added.
“For these reasons, Pisa Sporting Club does not accept lessons on behavior from anyone.”
‼️ Comunicato Ufficiale: la nota della società dopo il brutto episodio di razzismo che ha subito il nostro calciatore Joel #Obi durante #PisaChievo— A.C. ChievoVerona (@ACChievoVerona) December 22, 2020
Leggi il comunicato 👉 https://t.co/gnjxTaekfe
✋ #NoToRacism ✋ pic.twitter.com/nZYUOPXE54
Joel Obi has made 7 Serie B appearances for Chievo Verona so far this season in which he has recorded a goal and an assist. He has been at the club since 2015 after leaving Torino for just 2 million euros.
The out of favor Super Eagles of Nigeria midfielder has made just 48 appearances so far at the club; he has scored a total of three goals and has provided three assists.
He had the best of his football career at Inter Milan between 2010 and 2015 where he won one Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and FIFA Club World Cup with the Italian giants.