Some 16% of Italians think it’s okay to imitate monkey screams and use racist slurs while supporting a football team, according to a poll published on Thursday.

Mike MenianPhoto: Marco Canoniero / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

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In a survey conducted on January 24-26 by the SWG Institute among a sample of 800 people, 16% of respondents believed that “shouting like monkeys or throwing bananas at black players”, as happened in the recent incidents involving the French goalkeeper AC Milan, Mike Magnan, it’s normal to support a team.

A similar percentage of the sample said that being a fan of a team means being able to call a player “gypsy” or “Jew” (18%) and “insult a player because of his nationality or origin” (18%).

On January 20, during an Italian league match between Udinese and AC Milan, Mainan left the field, followed by his teammates, after being the target of monkey chants, forcing the referee to temporarily stop the match.

After a five-minute break, the match was resumed by Mainan, who the next day urged the Italian authorities to take action against the scourge, which is a common occurrence in football.

Since then, the club from Udine (northern Italy) has banned five of its fans for life and was forced to play the match behind closed doors. The sanction was reduced after an appeal to the closure of the stand for two matches.

Additionally, according to the SWG survey, 74% of respondents thought it was okay for “targeted players to take a strong stand on this issue,” but 22% believed that “as public figures pay for entertainment, they should put up with whatever happens,” according to the News .ro.

Half of the respondents (51%) consider it normal when a fan insults his own team or the athlete he supports after a negative result.

Likewise, 46% believe that referees’ insults are related to being at the stadium.