Editorial: This could be the birth of the activist footballer

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Full marks to Kevin-Prince Boateng and AC Milan. In the face of racist abuse from fans at a (far from) friendly match on Thursday, the Ghanaian player walked off the field and the rest of his team duly followed him.

Although sporting authorities across Europe are committed to cracking down on racism in football, their actions have lagged sadly behind their rhetoric. The nominal £65,000 fine levied on Serbia for fans' racist chanting, for example, hardly smacks of serious intent. Nor, indeed, do the meagre penalties dished out to Luis Suarez and John Terry in this country.

Players are running out of patience, it seems – and not just in Italy. No fewer than 30 Premier League footballers snubbed October's annual "Kick It Out" anti-racism day, in protest at the ineffectiveness of the campaign. Nor is the new‑found activism restricted to racism. West Ham's Matt Jarvis has just become only the third footballer ever to challenge the sport's ingrained homophobia by appearing on the cover of Attitude, Britain's best-selling gay magazine.

In a sport so riddled with prejudice as football, any player taking a stand is to be applauded. And when it comes to racist chanting, let's hope all now follow where AC Milan have led.

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