Italian politician among those questioned over Kevin-Prince Boateng abuse
AC Milan midfielder walked off following abuse
Monday 07 January 2013
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.
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds