Koulibaly was shown a second yellow card in the 81st minute of the 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan after sarcastically applauding the referee after a booking, with chanting clearly audible as he left the field.
Sarri, who managed Koulibaly at Napoli from 2015 to 2018, said the issue is nothing new and that territorial chants against his former club in particular are a serious issue in Italy.
“In Italy there are some problems in football, especially for Naples I think,” Sarri said in a news conference on Friday ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Crystal Palace. “When I was there we stopped two matches; one against Lazio in Rome, one against Sampdoria in Genoa.
“I am very sorry for Kalidou because he is a wonderful man. I am really very sorry for him. I think that in Italy we can do something more for this problem.”
As a result of the chants, Inter have been punished with a two-match stadium closure, and boss Luciano Spalletti has condemned his side’s fans’ actions.
“I think it’s only right to start by saying that my position is one of condemnation: no ifs, no buts,” the Inter coach said at a news conference on Friday. “The time has come to say enough is enough.”
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti had said he asked the referee’s assistant on three occasions to suspend the match due to the racist chanting, and that the next time his team would take matters into their own hands and walk off.
Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco said on Friday that he was “100 percent in agreement” with Ancelotti, but Spalletti does not think walking off is the answer.
“Things don’t change with just one gesture, but with the constant, daily effort to change things,” he said. “Then, from this repeated, daily, continued gesture, it becomes normality, because these things have happened before.”
Several players, including Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, have come out in support of Koulibaly.
The Senegal international will now serve a two-match ban for the sending off — one for an accumulation of yellow cards for the campaign, and the other for the dismissal.
However, Napoli’s lawyer has said the club will appeal the second of the two yellow cards.
“We’re looking into appealing,” Mattia Grassani to Radio Kiss Kiss.
“We will ask for just a one-game ban, basing our appeal on his applause, which was the reason for his second yellow card.
“You could hear the monkey chants, yet the referee did not feel it would have been right to interrupt the game. Probably a strong signal in the first half would have warned the fans and dissuaded the idiots from continuing with such behaviour, and then we would never have got to that gesture from Koulibaly.”