Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Muntari handed a match ban for racism protest

Ghana football star Sulleyman Muntari has been banned for one match after walking off the pitch at Cagliari on Sunday following racist abuse from the home crowd.

Muntari, who plays for Pescara, was booked for complaining to the referee about the abuse, before walking off the pitch and earning a second yellow card .

The disciplinary committee of Serie A added that no action would be taken against
Cagliari over the incident.

The committee described the chanting as deplorable but claimed that “an approximate number of only 10” individuals were involved, not enough to warrant a punishment against the club under Serie A rules.

The former Inter Milan midfielder said he suffered abuse throughout his side’s 1-0 defeat at Cagliari but was booked for dissent when he asked referee Daniele Minelli to stop the game in the 90th minute, and left the field in stoppage time.

“[The referee] told me I should not talk to the crowd,” Muntari said after the game. I asked him if he had heard the insults. I insisted that he must have the courage to stop the game,” he added.
“The referee should not just stay on the field and blow the whistle, he must do everything. He should be aware of these things and set an example.”

The world football players' union Fifpro had earlier called for Muntari's punishment to be rescinded - though it was then unaware the player had been given a second yellow card and sent off.

"Muntari was well within his rights to approach the referee," said a Fifpro statement.

"Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.

"We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari's version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm.

Ex-Portsmouth and Sunderland player Muntari was playing for AC Milan when then team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch because of racist chanting during a friendly with lower-league side Pro Patria in January 2013.

Boateng has since tweeted his support to Muntari, saying he is "so proud" of his former team-mate.

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