Massive outcry by different football bodies saw Ghana International Sulley Muntari’s ban revoked by Italian football federation’s appeal court
Following series of protest, as well as much deliberation by authorities, Italian football federation (FIGC) has lifted the ban placed on Ghana International Sulley Muntari. The Pescara midfielder bagged a one-match ban after Seria A’s disciplinary committee termed inappropriate his manner of handling an alleged racist abuse meted out to him during a match.
Sulley Muntari suffered racist abuse during a Seria A clash between his side and Cagliari at the Stadio Sant’Elia. The suspended Ghana International was rudely booed at by supporters of his opponents at the final minutes of the match. Indignant Muntari protested against referee Danielle Minelli to stop the game because of the racist chants directed at him.
However, the referee paid deaf ears to his complaints and booked him for dissent instead, making matters worse. This caused the 32-year-old to angrily walk off the pitch in protest, leaving Pescara who lost 1-0 to play stoppage time with 10 men.
Seria A’s disciplinary committee had upheld the decision of the referee and banned the Ghana international for one game. More so, contrary to what is attainable in international football, Seria A took no disciplinary measures against Cagliari for the racist slurs. According to the committee, only 10 supporters and therefore less than 1%” of fans, were directly involved; which was not enough to warrant punishment for the club.
Football Bodies’ Intervention
Muntari’s ban, as well as the racist abuse, received lots of condemnation among sports stakeholders across the globe. Following the ban, World footballers’ union Fifpro had called for the punishment to be rescinded.
Also, British anti-discrimination organization ‘Kick It Out’, denounced the ban, calling Italy’s football authorities “gutless” over the whole issue. This was followed by calls for a strike by Kick it Out trustee Garth Crooks. The Ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker called on all players in the Italian league to go on strike unless the ban was withdrawn.
Explaining his version of events on an Italian television after the match, Sulley Muntari revealed how he had tried to defuse the situation by giving his shirt to one of his abusers, a child. This according to him was to teach him good morals.
I gave him my shirt to teach him that you’re not supposed to do things like that. I needed to set an example so he grows up to be nice
However, the abuse continued in the second half, which was when he tried to open the referee’s eyes to his plight; a move which earned him the first yellow card.
Muntari’s ban revoked
But following protests by different stakeholders, the Pescara midfielder’s two yellow cards, which amounted to a red in Sunday’s match was annulled by the federation’s appeal court on Friday, May 5, 2017.
In Seria A as well as other football leagues; it is expected that officials stop a game at the occurrence of racist abuse. This policy was implemented in August 2016, when a referee stopped a La Liga match following a discrimination of Ghana international Inaki Williams.
Also In 2013, the AC Milan team left the pitch during a friendly after home fans insulted another Ghana international midfielder, Kevin-Prince Boateng.