Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Pescara’s Muntari walks off following racist abuse


Referee Daniele Minelli, left, shows the yellow card to Delfino Pescara 1936’s Sulley Muntari, second right, in the Serie A match between Pescara and Cagliari at the Stadio Sant’Elia in Cagliari, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Ghana’s Sulley Muntari on Sunday dramatically walked off the pitch while playing for Delfino Pescara 1936 at Cagliari after his complaints of racist abuse were met with a yellow card.

The former AC Milan and Inter midfielder, who claimed the abuse also came from children, angrily confronted Cagliari fans, shouting at them: “This is my color.”

Muntari, 32, could now face disciplinary measures after deciding to leave the pitch seconds before fulltime — a decision that earned him a second yellow card, and then a red, from referee Daniele Minelli.

Earlier, he had spoken directly with a section of the Cagliari supporters targeting him with racist abuse.

“They shouted at me from the beginning of the game and in the first half I saw children in the group, so I went to their parents and gave them my jersey, to set an example and to say you are not supposed to do that,” Muntari said. “I tried to reason with them, but the referee told me I had to stop. That’s when I got pissed off. Why did he not stop the match? I am not a victim, but I am convinced that if they stopped the matches, this kind of thing would not happen anymore.”

While leaving the pitch in frustration and murmuring “Basta” (Enough), Muntari went to address more supporters, showing them his arm and shouting: “This is my color, this is my color.”

His protest was later backed by Pescara coach Zdenek Zeman, although in comments to Sky Sport the Czech veteran said Muntari should not have quit the game.

“He asked the referee to intervene, but he [said he had] neither heard nor seen anything,” Zeman said. “Muntari was right, but he shouldn’t have left the pitch.”

Muntari was at AC Milan when former teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng angrily walked off the pitch while being targeted with racist abuse during a friendly with lower league side Aurora Pro Patria 1919 in January 2013.

It prompted a wave of support on social media, although soccer’s governing body FIFA, while applauding Boateng’s principles, said it did not condone his decision to walk off.

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