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Italian football team Napoli takes knee before match to protest racism

ANKARA: Italian football team Napoli's players took a knee before a league match Saturday to support their Brazilian teammate, Juan Jesus, who claimed he was racially abused during a match. Before kick-off against Atalanta which the defending Italian champions lost 3-0 and is in the eighth spot in the league table at Naples' Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, Napoli players kneeled to support Jesus, who is black. Earlier in March, Jesus claimed that Inter Milan and Italian defender Francesco Acerbi, 36, directed a racial slur at him in an Italian Serie A match between Inter and Napoli that ended in a 1-1 draw. Jesus, 32, told the referee of the match held March 17 in Milan that he was racially abused by his opponent. Earlier this week, the Napoli defender said he was "crestfallen" as Acerbi confirmed that he would not face sanctions for allegedly abusing Jesus. On Tuesday, an Italian top-flight league's sports judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. "I have read several times and with great disappoi ntment the decision of the sports judge, who felt there was no evidence that I was the victim of a racist insult during the match between Inter and Napoli on 17 March. While respecting the decision, it is one I find difficult to comprehend and it leaves me feeling very bitter," Jesus said in his statement. Acerbi will be able to play for Italian leaders Inter in their match against Empoli on April 1. The Italian international denied the allegations. But Acerbi was excluded from Italy's squad for friendlies against Venezuela and Ecuador. Acerbi, a former Lazio defender, helped Italy clinch the EURO 2020 title. Source: Philippines News Agency