The Italian Players’ Association and FIGC publicly supported Kevin-Prince Boateng after he abandoned a friendly match due to racist chanting, but the Busto Arsizio Mayor incredibly blamed the Ghanaian.
The Milan midfielder interrupted today’s game with Lega Pro Second Division team Pro Patria by kicking the ball into the stands and walking off, followed by his teammates.
“It was a good signal to send out,” said Italian Players’ Association (AIC) President Damiano Tommasi.
“The ideal is not to suspend games, though, but rather be able to kick out those responsible for these incidents.”
Barbara Berlusconi, who is the daughter of President Silvio Berlusconi and on the Milan Board of Directors, also weighed in.
“We need zero tolerance for these incidents and games ought to be suspended even in Serie A. It is a shocking incident and it was right to leave the field. We can’t always pretend we don’t see or hear these things.”
Federation President Giancarlo Abete also released a statement on the official FIGC website.
“Any sanction or punishment could not cancel out the disgust for a shocking and intolerable incident. The Federation has already begun an investigation to discover who is responsible and collaborate with the Police to punish the racists who ruined a friendly game.
“We show full solidarity to the players who were victims of the racist chants and to Milan who refused to finish the game, a decision that was shared by the referee – who had already suspended play twice – and the authorities in the stadium.
“We must react strongly and without the protection of silence to isolate those delinquents who transformed a friendly match into a disgusting situation that offends all of Italian football.
“Today’s incident confirms once more we must not lower our guard against racial discrimination and racist undertows of society, calling together all the healthy elements of football to fight them.”
However, one lone voice refusing to condemn the racist chants was the Mayor of Busto Arsizio, an industrial town between Varese and Milan.
“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,” declared Mayor Gigi Farioli.
“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 the Bernabeu or at San Siro, Boateng would not have had such an improper reaction.”
Farioli was elected with support from the Lega Nord (an anti-immigration party that wants to separate the north of Italy from the poorer south) and the Popolo della Liberta (Milan President Berlusconi’s centre-right party).