You have to wonder if Italian soccer officials ever think before they speak. First we had Carlo Tavecchio, now president of the Italian federation (FIGC), calling African players banana-eaters. Now there’s accusations that Felice Belloli, president of Italy’s amateur soccer association*, referred to female players as “a bunch of lesbians.”
Belloli allegedly said: “That’s enough, we can’t always talk about giving money to this bunch of lesbians,” although at least he’s been wise enough to deny that such disgusting words ever fell from his lips. The statement came out in minutes circulated after a meeting of the amateur soccer council, and Sonia Pessotto, also present at the meeting, confirmed Belloli used the phrase “bunch of lesbians.”
To be clear, “lesbians” is not an insult, and if you’re trying to use it that way, you should probably take some time to consider your life choices. But referring to all of Italy’s female players in such a manner definitely is insulting – and homophobic and sexist and a bunch of other things a public official shouldn’t be. The FIGC is taking the allegations seriously and has opened an investigation.
Let’s face it – there’s probably been even more racist, sexist, discriminatory remarks said by these men behind closed doors. Is it any wonder there’s rarely severe punishments for the chants heard in Italian stadiums?
*The job Tavecchio was doing when he made the banana-eater comments. Perhaps we’re looking at the next FIGC president, here.