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. He later wrote on Twitter: “Shame that these things still happen… £StopRacismforever”
Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE, called for the Italian FA to take strong action.
He said: “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.
Milan’s website said there was also racist abuse by “a minority of Pro Patria fans” directed at M’baye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari.