Soccer-Racist fans face lifetime stadium bans - Italian FA chief Gravina

FILE PHOTO-President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Gabriele Gravina attends the unveiling of the federation's new logo in Milan, Italy, October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

ROME (Reuters) - Racist soccer fans must be identified and banned from stadiums for life, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said, after several incidents of racism at the start of the Serie A season.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly said he was called a "monkey" by Fiorentina supporters in Florence this month and called on authorities to ban the perpetrators from attending matches.

It came after two incidents in September, when AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan was racially abused by Juventus fans and an investigation was opened into alleged racist chants by Lazio supporters against Milan’s Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie.

"We are trying to shift from what was an objective responsibility, penalising a large part of the stadium, to individual responsibility," Gravina told Italia 1.

"We have the technology at our disposal to identify single subjects, expel them from the stadiums and never let them come back."

Gravina also said that he intends to bid for Italy to host the European Championship in 2028, after the Azzurri’s triumph at Euro 2020 in the summer.

"I nurture dreams and try to make them come true. I hope to make this dream come true for the good of Italian football," he added.

European governing body UEFA said last week that national associations have until March 23, 2022 to declare interest in hosting the tournament, and the bidders will be announced on April 5.

The host nation will then be announced in September 2023.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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