Italian minister urges action against racism
MILAN - Agence France-Presse
Milan’s Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng wears an anti-racist t-shirt prior to his team’s Serie A match against Siena. The move comes days after Boateng reacted against racial abuses during a friendly match last week.Italian interior minister calls for more incisive action to be taken to end racist abuse against footballers in the wake of the slur against Boateng
Milan’s Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng wears an anti-racist t-shirt prior to his team’s Serie A match against Siena. The move comes days after Boateng reacted against racial abuses during a friendly match last week.
talian interior minister Annamaria Cancellieri yesterday called for “more incisive” action to be taken to end the abuse of non-white players by racist fans.
Cancellieri was speaking after AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng last week responded to racist chants by a small group of fans during a friendly against fourth division side Pro Patria by storming off the pitch. He was followed by his team-mates, prompting a global outpouring of applause for the German-born Ghanaian international’s stance against racist supporters.
Sepp Blatter, the president of world football’s governing body FIFA, hit out at Boateng’s decision to force the suspension of last week’s friendly, setting him at odds with AC Milan owner-president, Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Both FIFA and UEFA have previously warned against players walking off the pitch in protest, and Blatter said: “Walk off? No. I don’t think that is the solution.”
Cancellieri said Boateng’s stance was a “nice gesture” but told Radio 24 yesterday that a “more comprehensive strategy” needed to be put in place to avoid games being decided by “a minority of racists.”
“This episode drew attention to a phenomenon which is unfortunately widespread and, as such, we have to be more serious about dealing with it,” she said.
At Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Jan. 5 some sections of Lazio’s crowd were heard making monkey noises at Cagliari’s Colombian striker Victor Ibarbo. The majority of the home crowd jeered to drown out the racists.
Cancellieri said a meeting would be held between Italy’s chief of police and the president of Serie A later this week to discuss ways to eliminate abusive fans from matches without necessarily forcing stoppages.
Berlusconi, meanwhile, said he disagreed with Blatter after vowing last week that his players would do the same again in a similar situation.
“I am of the opposite opinion. I congratulated the players for their courage in standing up to this abhorrent incident,” he told Tgcom24, which is part of his Mediaset group.
“Football reflects society and should be something positive, teams should shown an example to the rest of society. What happened in the stadium should not be dismissed, it has done a lot of damage including to the reputation of Italy.”