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
England vs Lithuania: Wayne Rooney rules out repeat of boxing celebration after son Kai repeats it at school and focuses on goalscoring record
Marco Reus becomes Arsenal transfer target to replace Theo Walcott
Paul Scholes: It's amazing Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has so few caps for England
New kits for 2015/16: Have the Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona strips been leaked?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Zab Judah denies flooring Mayweather during sparring as he prepares for 2 May
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest