A politician from Italy’s Northern League political party has been forced to quit after being accused of chanting racist comments that led AC Milan football players to walk off the pitch last week.
Riccardo Grittini, 21, the councillor for sport in Corbetta, outside Milan, is under investigation by Varese prosecutors following the scenes last Thursday, which saw a friendly match between the Serie A superstars and fourth division side Pro Patria abandoned.
The Northern League is the populist party that hopes to jockey for power by supporting former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s PDL party in next month’s general elections.
Milan players Kevin-Prince Boateng, M’Baye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari were all subjected to racist abuse. AC Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini eventually led his team off the field.
The next day, AC Milan’s owner Silvio Berlusconi said he had called Boateng – whose angry response prompted the walk-off – to voice his support “for his reaction to a deplorable episode of racism”.
Within 48 hours, however, the tycoon was finalising a pre-election pact with the anti-immigrant Northern League party. A right-wing coalition with the League represents Mr Berlusconi’s only hope of returning to power after next month’s poll. He has said the grouping is a pact of “moderates”.
Meanwhile, Northern League leader Roberto Maroni announced yesterday that Mr Berlusconi has pledged not to stand for the premiership again.