Serie A has racism issue, says Vieira

Internazionale midfielder Patrick Vieira has added his voice to the claim that Serie A still has a problem with racism.

The France midfielder claims it is ‘difficult’ for black players like himself to play in Italy due to the abuse they suffer from supporters and has called on the national and international authorities to take action.

“Being a black player in Italy is difficult compared to other countries because you always receive abuse,” said the former Arsenal and Juventus star.

“I have been in Italy for four years and fans have always given me trouble. The best response is to stay quiet and remain focused on the pitch.

“Calcio and the authorities should do more to combat the problem of racism. The situation is getting better but there is still plenty to do.

“Football is important in our society and we can use it to launch important messages.

“FIFA needs to react because it's easy to see those who launch racist chants in the stands.”

Lazio striker Goran Pandev is almost certain to remain with the Biancocelesti by signing a new extended contract in the near future.

The 25-year-old FYR Macedonia international has been linked with a number of top clubs across Europe, but his agent, Carlo Pallavicino, expects Pandev to stay put in the Eternal City.

He told Radio Kiss Kiss: “Only Lazio exists for Goran. At the moment we are in a contractual situation and talking with Lazio president Claudio Lotito.

“There are no changes expected on the horizon either. I don't think there will be any problems between Lazio and Pandev.”

Pandev’s current deal runs out in the summer of 2010, with the frontman having joined Lazio from Internazionale four years ago.

He has scored 49 goals in 151 league and European appearances for Lazio to date.

Meanwhile, Juventus have been boosted by the news that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has returned to training.

The 30-year-old Azzurri number one has been out of action since September with a groin problem, but stepped up his comeback after joining in full training with his team-mates for the first time on Wednesday.