• Play briefly stopped after Lazio fans abused Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly
• ‘It was chanting from the minority’ said Lazio manager after side’s 2-0 defeat
Lazio and Napoli players surround referee Massimiliano Irrati as he halts their match in Rome
Lazio and Napoli players surround referee Massimiliano Irrati as he halts their match at the Olympic Stadium in Rome due to racist chanting from some home supporters. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
Wednesday 3 February 2016 19.22 EST Last modified on Wednesday 3 February 2016 19.28 EST
The Serie A fixture between Lazio and Napoli on Wednesday was suspended for around three minutes after home supporters at the Olympic Stadium in Rome aimed racist abuse at visiting centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.
The game was halted in the 68th minute following repeated booing from pockets of fans whenever the Senegal international touched the ball. The referee, Massimiliano Irrati, only decided to continue proceedings after consulting with coaches and officials and Napoli secured a 2-0 win with goals from Gonzalo Higuaín and José Callejón to stay top of the standings.
“I would not have stopped the match,” the Lazio manager, Stefano Pioli, said afterwards. “It was chanting from the minority, but I don’t think they were racist. We also have players of colour and they are treated well.“
The Napoli coach, Maurizio Sarri, said he was sorry about the chanting. “Bravo to Irrati for stopping the match,” he said on Twitter.
Italian football has been plagued by racist incidents recently, notably in 2013 when AC Milan players Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli were the victims of offensive chanting in two separate matches.