Anti-racism campaigners praise AC Milan forward Kevin-Prince Boateng following walk-off
Former Tottenham and Portsmouth player was abused during friendly
Thursday 03 January 2013
Anti-racism campaigners have praised AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng after he walked off the field in protest at racist abuse during a friendly - followed by his team-mates.
Milan's match against fourth-tier side Pro Patria was abandoned when Boateng, in possession on the left wing in the 26th minute, suddenly picked the ball up and kicked it towards the stand behind him.
The Ghana midfielder then tore off his shirt and walked off the pitch, followed by the rest of the Milan side.
Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE, called for the Italian FA to take strong action.
He told the Press Association: "We salute Kevin-Prince Boateng for his actions and his team-mates for their support. This is the not the first time a player has walked off in Italy - if the situation continues it may not be the last.
"Italy, as much as any country in Europe, has a serious problem of racism to deal with. Football infrastructure is in need of renewal and at serious odds with the changing nature of Italian society. We look forward to strong action by the FIGC (Italian FA)."
Russia have also had their problems with racism. A Zenit St Petersburg fans group issued a statement before Christmas calling on the Russian club not to sign black or gay players.
"2013 starts in Italy as 2012 finished in Russia with a stark example of what has become the biggest social challenge facing football," Powar added.
Milan's website said there was also racist abuse by "a minority of Pro Patria fans" at Mbaye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters: "We are disappointed and saddened by what has happened. "Milan play for the right to respect all players. We need to stop these uncivilised gestures.
"We are sorry for all the other fans who came here for a beautiful day of sport. We promise to return, and we are sorry for the club and players of Pro Patria, but we could not make any other decision.
"I hope it can be an important signal."
The match was goalless at the time, with Muntari having had a goal disallowed for offside.
Latest in Sport
Rio Ferdinand interview: 'If my ban is the benchmark, Malky Mackay better beware...'
Tyson Fury vs Dereck Chisora and Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jr: weigh-in LIVE
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Premier League injury list: Chelsea have it best with just one player out, while Manchester United have eight and Newcastle a massive 13
- 1 Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
- 3 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 4 Today was a bad day for renters, landlords, and democracy
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police