MILAN (AP) — A public prosecutor is set to open a criminal inquiry after an exhibition match between AC Milan and lower division club Pro Patria was abandoned after racist chanting by fans.
The prosecutor in the northern town of Busto Arsizio is likely to pursue charges of inciting racial hatred against Pro Patria fans who abused Milan’s black players, local media reported Friday.
One 20-year-old fan was cited by police after acknowledging involvement in the chants, and five more have been identified. Police were examining video footage to identify the others involved.
After repeated chants directed his way during Thursday’s game, Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng kicked the ball in anger at a section of the crowd, took off his shirt and walked off the field with the rest of the Milan team.
Other Milan players Urby Emanuelson, Sulley Muntari and M’Baye Niang also were targeted by the chants.
The Italian soccer federation announced its own inquiry Thursday, while Milan president and former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said his club wouldn’t hesitate to walk off the field again.
“I can assure you that in any match, even international ones, where episodes like this occur, Milan will leave the pitch,” Berlusconi said. “These uncivil episodes, these whistles and denigrating chants occur ever more frequently and they offend football and all of sport.”
The international players’ union, FIFPro, voiced its support for Milan’s stance.
“FIFPro is not encouraging other players to directly walk of the field when they are racially abused,” said Tony Higgins, the association’s spokesman on anti-racism. “But the world of football has to realize that this abusive behavior must stop. Racism has no place in society or football. The players of Milan sent a clear message: if racism does not stop, then football will.”
Former France international Lilian Thuram, who played in Italy with Parma and Juventus, noted that it was “the first time a big club took responsibility to make such a decisive step” by walking off.
“Indifference prevails in the majority of cases,” Thuram told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Teammates tend to lower their eyes and look elsewhere, underestimating the suffering of the players of color who are targeted.
“That’s why I applaud the sensibility of a great player like (Milan captain) Massimo Ambrosini,” Thuram added. “He took responsibility which gives a huge amount of help to the fight against racism.”
Boateng expressed his gratitude for the encouragement he’s received since walking off the field.
“Thank u all for the support and understanding…means a lot!!!” Boateng tweeted Friday.
Patrick Vieira, another former France international who played in Italy, also was supportive.
“It was brave of Kevin Prince Boateng to do what he did today, and it was the right thing,” Vieira tweeted. “We need to stand up and stand together. Well done.”
Meanwhile, Pro Patria president Pietro Vavassori announced that he would open the club’s stadium to “all people of color” at its next match, inviting them to sit in the tribune of honor.
“Our hope is that the other Lega Pro (third and fourth division) presidents also support this initiative,” Vavassori said. “The people who made those chants are not regular fans, but rather people who came to the stadium with the intention of ruining a festive match.”
Vavassori added that Boateng’s reaction was “understandable.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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