FIFA chief Sepp Blatter appalled by racist abuse of Balotelli, vows to take action
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has vowed to step up the fight to conquer racism after disturbing scenes in Italy on Sunday night when some Ghanaian players were racially abused.
The Serie A match between AC Milan and Roma was suspended for two minutes after the half-time interval with several black Milan players, including striker Mario Balotelli were subjected to abuse from the visiting fans.
Some of AC Milan’s black players are Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari while Balotelli was born to Ghanaian parents.
Four months ago Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led a player walk-off after suffering racist chants during a friendly match at Pro Patria.
Blatter, in Zurich for the start of a conference with the newly created FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination, tweeted: “Appalled to read about racist abuse in Serie A last night. Tackling this issue is complex, but we’re committed to action, not just words.”
Meanwhile, AC Milan coach Allegri supported the decision by referee Gianluca Rocchi to suspend the match at the San Siro which allowed for a stadium announcement to be made ordering the offenders to desist.
Allegri told the club’s website: “In my opinion, there’s only one solution to racism in stadiums and that’s to suspend the match. To get rid of this stuff in our stadiums, you have to make big decisions.
“It could penalise some people but in the long run it would help us to grow as a nation and become more civilised.”
Rocchi was employing new rules introduced in the wake of Boateng’s decision to stage the protest in January.
A friendly between Milan and Pro Patria was suspended earlier this year when Kevin-Prince Boateng stormed off the field of play after being targeted by supporters.
Following that match the Italian Football Federation introduced new rules to hep officials deal with racist chanting.
Referees can now suspend play and ask for stadium announcements to appeal for the chanting to stop – and can abandon matches should that fail.
Sunday night’s game was completed, petering out into a 0-0 draw after the suspension, during which Roma captain Francesco Totti also appealed for calm and fans were told the game would be called off altogether if the abuse continued.
Suspended: The players wait as the PA appeals for calm (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)