Italy bans the No.88 on the football field to fight antisemitism

Thirteen rules have been established in Italian football, including the ban on using the number 88 on the football field, to fight antisemitism.

On June 27, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and Sports Minister Andrea Abodi signed a declaration of intent to put an end to antisemitic attitudes in the world of football, reports the Marca.

The National Coordinator for the fight against antisemitism, Giuseppe Pecoraro, and the President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, jointly established 13 rules to fight antisemitism on the football field, including the ban of the number 88. In addition, „the use by fans of symbols that may be reminiscent of Nazism is forbidden,” said Minister Piantedosi.

When used with antisemitic intentions, the number 88 refers to Adolf Hitler, the two 8s referring to the position of the letter H in the dictionary. Thus 88 translates to ‘Heil Hitler’.

Following the ban, footballers like Mario Pasalic and Tomas Rincon, among others, will be forced to wear a different number on their team shirts, replacing their current number 88.

The decision will leave no room for misunderstandings, as in the case of Mateusz Praszelik, the Polish footballer who unknowingly wore the number 88 on his football shirt and hence members with Nazi views of the Verona club mistakenly recognised him as one of them.


Photo credit: LaPresse