Racist chanting and singing at Italian soccer games is nothing new, but finally some players have taken a stand. During a friendly game between the legendary A.C. Milan and local team Pro Patria, Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng refused to play on after being racially abused by "fans" of PP — who were doing one of their infamous "monkey chants."
The Pro Patria players had pleaded with their fans to stop the chanting, but to no avail. The stadium applauded the decision of the referee and the players to discontinue the game.
Hopefully this marks the start of a new day in Italian soccer.
Legendary French player and anti-racism campaigner Patrick Vieira tweeted about the incident, saying:
It was brave of Kevin Prince Boateng to do what he did today, and it was the right thing. We need to stand up and stand together. Well done.
— Patrick Vieira (@OfficialVieira) January 3, 2013
A.C. Milan Director Umberto Gandini tweeted:
Very proud of the Milan players who decided to walk off the pitch today for racist abuse from few idiots! No racism, no stupidity!
— Umberto Gandini (@UmbertoGandini) January 3, 2013
Journalist Gabriele Marcotti has been covering the incident:
Cops say they've identified the people who racially abused Boateng. Charges to follow.
— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) January 3, 2013
Hat tip to 101 Great Goals
Shockingly, the Mayor of Busto Arsizio, Gigi Farioli, the town where the game was being played, has laid the blame on the doorstep of the players and referee:
It was above all the fault of a bunch of idiots, maybe even of a bunch of professionals who didn’t know how to do their jobs properly – by which I mean the referee and some players, if these professionals had been able to do their jobs, then it wouldn’t have ruined a festival of football that at that point could no longer continue.
Boateng kicked the ball at 200km/h at a fan and we all know that a reaction foul from a professional player is punished more severely than any other foul. In any other stadium in Italy, he would’ve been sent off.
But if this had been at...at San Siro (Milan's Home Stadium), Boateng would not have had such an improper reaction.”
Farioli was elected as a representative of of the far-right Lega Nord party. A party which specializes in anti-immigration platforms as well as wanting to liberate Northern Italy from the South.