Italian politician among those questioned over Kevin-Prince Boateng abuse

AC Milan midfielder walked off following abuse

A representative of Italian political party Lega Nord is among six people under investigation for allegedly directing racist abuse at AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng in last week's friendly game against Pro Patria.

Riccardo Grittini, 21, is an elected sport and youth policy official for the Italian town of Corbetta, a town 18 miles to the south of Busto Arsizio where Thursday's match took place.

Grittini is among those accused by police of directing racist abuse at Boateng in the first half of the match. The former Portsmouth and Tottenham midfielder opted to lead his team-mates off the pitch in response to the abuse, forcing the abandonment of the game and inspiring worldwide debate on how football should tackle racism.

The Lega Nord, formed in 1991, advocates greater political autonomy for the northern regions of Italy, with Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont forming the principal strongholds for Umberto Bossi's party.

The mayor of Corbetta, Antonio Balzarotti, admitted he was surprised to hear news of his colleague's alleged involvement but said he would sever all ties with Grittini should he be found guilty of racist abuse.

He told the Corriere della Sera: "He is a good lad and a nice person.

"I spoke to him on Sunday morning to find out what had happened. He was a broken man - he was distraught. He asked to speak to me later on as he needed time to think.

"He told me it was just a prank similar to those that occur every Sunday in stadiums. It was probably the fact that a prestigious team like Milan were in town that made them more excitable.

"Of course, if I find out that this was not just a prank but a real act of racism then I will have no other option than to disassociate myself from him completely."

Italian state police confirmed that five other suspects have been identified thanks to footage captured by video cameras at the Stadio Carlo Speroni.

A statement published by the Polizia di Stato confirmed the five men are aged between 22 and 30, including four residents of Varese and one from Milan.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada