• Serie A

AC Milan's Boateng leaves pitch due to racism

ESPN staff
January 3, 2013
Kevin-Prince Boateng has been praised for his actions by Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE © PA Photos

AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch during a friendly match on Thursday after he was the subject of racist abuse.

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 smashed it towards the stand behind him.

The Ghana midfielder then tore off his shirt and walked off the field at the opposite end. On his way, he applauded other sections of the crowd, who then appeared to react angrily towards the corner of the ground from which the chants came.

Pro Patria's Dario Alberto Polverini attempted to talk to Boateng as he departed, but the midfielder carried on walking and the rest of the players and officials followed him off the pitch.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters: "We are disappointed and saddened by what has happened. Milan play for the right to respect all players. We need to stop these uncivilised gestures.

"We are sorry for all the other fans who came here for a beautiful day of sport. We promise to return, and we are sorry for the club and players of Pro Patria, but we could not make any other decision. I hope it can be an important signal.''

The match was goalless at the time, with Sulley Muntari having had a goal disallowed for offside.

Later, anti-racism campaigners praised Boateng and Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE, called for the Italian FA to take strong action.

He told the Press Association: "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).''

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