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
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Pavement The Forum, London
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up