Sulley Muntari sends a defiant message to racists after having his suspension overturned by the Italian FA

Muntari was sent-off after confronting racists in a Serie A match between Pescara and Cagliari

Sunday 07 May 2017 12:42
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Muntari made worldwide headlines when he confronted fans racially abusing him
Muntari made worldwide headlines when he confronted fans racially abusing him

Sulley Muntari has said that he is determined to keep fighting racism after his suspension for refusing to play in a match in which he was racially abused was overturned.

The Pescara midfielder, who played for Portsmouth in the 2007-08 season, was booked during last weekend's match against Cagliari after he reported the abuse to the referee. He was sent off after walking off the pitch in protest at the yellow card.

The suspension was overturned on Friday by the Italian football federation (FIGC) and the Ghanaian has now spoken out over the incident.

Muntari wrote on his official Twitter feed: “I am determined to fight racism. Football should inspire respect for one race - the human race.”

Muntari confronted the fans who abused him

The post received a reply from Las Palmas midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, Muntari's former AC Milan team-mate who walked off the pitch in protest at racial abuse during a 2013 friendly against Pro Patria in which Muntari also played.

Muntari had earlier said that he was "treated like a criminal" by the Italian football authorities after he was banned for complaining about racist abuse last weekend.

“I feel that someone has finally listened and heard me," Muntari said in a statement released by FIFPro, the world players' union.

The midfielder previously played for both Inter and AC Milan (Getty )

“The last few days have been very hard for me. I have felt angry and isolated.

“I was being treated like a criminal. How could I be punished when I was the victim of racism?

“I hope my case can help so that other footballers do not suffer like me.

“I hope it can be a turning point in Italy and show the world what it means to stand up for your rights.

“This is an important victory to send a message that there's no place for racism in football, or society in general.”

Muntari moved to Delfino Pescara from Saudi side Ittihad FC

The rescinding of the ban means Muntari can play for Pescara against Crotone this weekend.

FIFPro Division Europe president Bobby Barnes, also deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, was relieved that common sense had prevailed.

Muntari was a key part of the Portsmouth side that won the FA Cup in 2008

“Anyone with a sense of justice will look at the situation and see the right thing has been done,” Barnes said of the incident.

“For the lad to have been racially abused is bad enough but to receive a ban as well because the correct protocol had not been carried out was very unfair, to say the least.

“There is clear protocol in place that should be triggered when this type of abuse happens and that did not happen.

“The player was forced to take action under his own volition because there was no support and the decision for him to be banned was clearly the wrong one.

“So, albeit belatedly, the authorities in Italy have now made the correct decision.”

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