The organisers of a half-marathon in the northern Italian city of Trieste have been accused of racism over their decision to exclude African athletes from the race.
Fabio Carini, the president of Apd Miramar, the company organising the 5 May event, said the decision to only open the race to European participants was to call out the exploitation of African runners.
“This year we decided to only take European athletes to make a point that measures must be taken to regulate what is a trade in very high-worth African athletes, who are simply exploited,” he told La Repubblica newspaper. “This is something we can no longer accept.”
Carini added that African athletes were paid much less than they were worth.
But the move provoked outrage from leftwing politicians, with Isabella De Monte, an MEP with the centre-left Democratic party, suggesting that the organisers were “cleansing” sport.
“The exploitation of athletes is being used as a fig leaf – regarding such questions, there are places and appropriate bodies to turn to,” she said. “This is truly absurd: professionals are being prevented from taking part in a competition because they come from Africa. We’ve been saying it for months … the situation is getting really out of hand and we’re in the danger of returning to the dark times.”
De Monte said the only way to react was through outrage. “Sport is about sharing, unifying, loyalty and respect – that’s what we teach our children,” she said.
Nicola Fratoianni, the secretary of the Italian Left party, called for the matter to be raised in parliament. “This is not Mississippi in the 1950s but Trieste in 2019,” he said.
The half-marathon is in its 24th year and had previously been open to all nationalities. Olivier Irabaruta (Parco Alpi Apuane) with a time of 1:03:01, won the half-marathon last year while Elvanie Nimbona (Caivano Runners) was among the first women to cross the finish line in 1:12:54.
Carini said he would not back down and would invite organisers of other marathons to follow suit.
The controversy follows a series of racist incidents in Italian football, with two AC Milan players subjected to racist chants by Lazio fans during a match on Wednesday night. Shortly before the game Lazio supporters made a tribute to the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini on a street in Milan.
Source link : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/27/trieste-half-marathon-accused-racism-excluding-africans
Publish date : 2019-04-27 14:03:00