By Amaechi Agbo
Forgotten Super Eagles midfielder, Joel Obi was allegedly racially abused in Italian Serie B during a match involving his club, Chievo Verona against Pisa
Joel Obi, 29, was the victim of racism following a comment made by Michele Marconi during Chievo’s 2-2 draw vs Pisa.
The Nigeria international was allegedly singled out by Pisa attacker Michele Marconi, who was not punished by the match referee
Chievo Verona claimed that Joel Obi was racially abused at the hands of a Pisa player, who allegedly made an offensive “slave” comment to the ex-Inter man.
The Verona side drew 2-2 in Monday’s league clash, a result that leaves them in ninth place in the second-tier standings.
But the game was overshadowed when, after full-time, Chievo accused midfielder Michele Marconi of directing abuse at Obi while on the pitch.
“Following the racist phrase ‘the slave revolt’ said by the Pisa player Michele Marconi to the midfielder Joel Obi during the first half of the Pisa – Chievo Verona match, the club expresses the utmost solidarity towards its player, the subject of a slanderous and bleak phrase, which has nothing to do with the most elementary and basic values of sport, ethics and respect,” the club wrote on its official website following the match.
“AC Chievo Verona strongly condemns and stigmatizes the racist behavior suffered by Joel Obi, and regrets that a phrase heard by most on the field was not followed by any disciplinary measures: neither by the referee, nor by the assistant and fourth official, nor the federal prosecutor.
Chievo have accused Pisa forward Michele Marconi of being racist towards Joel Obi.
“We strongly condemn the racist behaviour suffered by Joel Obi.
“We regret that the comment, heard by most on the pitch, was not followed by any disciplinary measures.
“AC Chievo Verona, always a staunch supporter of the values of ethics, respect and fair play – will continue to remain at the forefront of the fight against any form of racism or violence, on and off any playing field.”
No action was taken on the field against Marconi, who played 77 minutes of the clash before being withdrawn for Alessandro De Vitis.
However, Pisa have denied the allegation.
Pisa said the club “distanced itself” from Chievo’s statement, saying the alleged insult was not detected by match officials or the microphones around the pitch.
“Moreover, our player confirmed that he had not addressed any insults to the opposing player, let alone racially motivated ones,” it added.
Obi has spent most of his career in Italy, playing for Inter Milan, Parma and Torino as well as the Nigeria national team.
Obi signed with Serie A club Chievo Verona on a three-year contract with an option for another season on 11 August 2018 before they were relegated to the lower division
Obi who has 16 caps for Nigeria, made his international debut for three-time Africa champions on 9 February 2011 in a friendly game with Sierra Leone in Lagos. He started the next 11 games in a row for the Eagles before getting injured near the end of 2012. He was named in the preliminary squad for the 2014 World Cup.
In May 2018 he was named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30 man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia