Lippi to act against racism in wake of hooligan riots

October 14th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Milan, Oct 14 (DPA) Italy’s national football team coach Marcello Lippi has agreed to take part in a campaign against racism and neo-Fascism, the la Repubblica daily reported Tuesday.Moni Ovadia, an Italy-based actor and theatre director of Jewish origin, said he contacted Lippi in the wake of incidents involving Italian hooligans around a match in Bulgaria last Saturday.

Five Italians were arrested in Sofia during the World Cup qualifier between Bulgaria and Italy after they rioted, chanted Fascist slogans and burned a Bulgarian flag.

Ovadia is producing a DVD against racism and neo-Fascism to be distributed in Italian high schools. He said he plans to have Lippi read excerpts from the late writer Primo Levi, a concentration camp survivor, and memories from other who survived the Holocaust.

“He seems to be a generous man,” Ovadia said about Lippi, “but beside this, I think he is perfect for the role, which of course he won’t be paid for, not only for his popularity among the youth but also for his ability to communicate.

“Because of how he speaks and for his straight ideas, he easily touches the hearts and the minds. It’s what it takes to give young people a strong anti-Fascist message.”

The events in Sofia restarted a debate about violence in Italian football and prompted the nation’s football supremo Giancarlo Abete to ban Italian fans from the games the world champions play abroad.

“If it’s the only way to avoid nights like that in Sofia, then it is right to stop the sale of tickets for (our) away games,” said Italy’s captain Fabio Cannavaro.

“What happened in Sofia is something we would never want to see in a stadium.”

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