Fiorentina racism row as Italian club’s problems grow ahead of Hearts trip

The Italians are struggling with poor form on the pitch and have also called on the country’s government to intervene after a racist row at Atalanta on Sunday.

Under head coach Vincenzo Italiano, Fiorentina have managed just one win in their last ten games in all competitions after losing 1-0 at Atalanta. They sit 11th in Serie A as pressure begins to mount on Italiano, who only signed a new contract in June this year.

They are also bottom of Conference League Group A on goal difference after failing to win either of their first two matches in the section. They started with a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Latvian champions RFS before a 3-0 defeat at Istanbul Basaksehir in their last European outing.

Fiorentina therefore travel to Scotland in a bid to secure a result against Hearts at Tynecastle Park. However, they also face another major problem after accusing Atalanta fans of racist taunts.

Fiorentina officials left Bergamo on Sunday night outraged by chants from home fans targeting owner Rocco Commisso. Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone has demanded government action after he sang of Atalanta residents mocking Commisso’s southern Italian origins.

In Italy, comments against anyone from the south of the country are as serious as racist abuse against black people. This is called territorial discrimination, with Italians from the traditionally better-off north used to discriminate against those from the poorer south.

Commisso was born in the Calabria region of southern Italy, but moved to New York as a child and is now a millionaire businessman. Barone, also Italian-American, issued a statement condemning Atalanta’s support. “Today we witnessed a shameful episode, not of an individual but of a whole people,” he said.

Fiorentina have growing concerns ahead of their trip to Hearts.

“We fought racism in America and today in Italy we have an unacceptable situation. Not only the league must intervene but also CONI [Italy’s Olympic committee] and the government. We are disgusted and expect severe punishment. The attention must be global, we can no longer pretend that nothing has happened.

Fiorentina are due to arrive in Edinburgh and train at Tynecastle on Wednesday ahead of the Conference League tie with Hearts 24 hours later.

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