Ghana international Sulley Muntari speaks on the disheartening racist abuse he suffered during Italian Seria A game against Cagliari…
Sulley Muntari has finally voiced out his displeasure with the prevailing rate of racism in Italian football. The Pescara midfielder has however explained why he walked off the pitch, after being booked for complaining of racist abuse.
Muntari was rudely booed at by supporters of his opponents during a clash between his side and Cagliari; an action that caused him to leave the football pitch after he was booked for complaining. He was subsequently issued 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.
Muntari’s protest had earned him a second yellow card by Seria A’s disciplinary committee, who took no measures against the club. 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.
However, following series of protests, as well as much deliberation by authorities, Italian football federation lifted the ban placed on Muntari. The Pescara midfielder’s two yellow cards were annulled by the federation’s appeal court on Friday, May 5, 2017.
After a long break from media interactions, the 32-year-old has a lot to say about the incident. Speaking to CNN, very emotional Muntari bemoaned the prevalence of racism in Italian football which he considered one of the best in the world.
When asked how often incidents of racism happened in football, the player said it happened all the time. Describing the most recent incident, Muntari said he was on the substitutes’ bench for his club’s home game against Crotone in the Stadio Adriatico Sunday when he heard a player being abused.
Muntari Speaks on Boycott
The Ghana international supported the idea of players protesting by going on strike, as a form of warning to football authorities. Muntari commended the endearing spirit of sportsmanship inherent in English football, a factor which is significantly lacking in Italian fo0tball.
Though he did not condemn Serie A, he attributed the high rate of racial abuse in Italy to frustration, lack of jobs and much more, among the masses. Muntari who has played in Europe for up to 17 years, says things have gotten worse over time regarding racism in football.
In Seria A as well as other football leagues, it is expected of officials to stop a game at the occurrence of racist abuse. Seria A’s failure to handle the issue accordingly attracted criticisms from football stakeholders across the globe. Some of these bodies are Fifpro, UN, British anti-discrimination organization ‘Kick it Out’, etc.
It was greatly argued that Muntari was well within his rights to approach the referee to make his grievances known. More so, Muntari is not the first footballer to suffer racist abuse in Italy’s top division. In 2013, Muntari’s former AC Milan teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch in protest during a friendly against Pro Patria.
These and many more factors led to calls for a boycott by Kick it Out Trustree Garth Crook. The ex Tottenham Hotspur striker had called on all players to go on strike unless Muntari’s ban was overturned.
FIFA President to Meet Muntari
President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino will be meeting with Sulley Muntari to have talks regarding the racial abuse he recently suffered on the pitch. The FIFA president has promised to fight racism which is a major challenge confronting the football world.
Sulley Muntari has earned backing from international bodies and individuals and Gianni Infantino the President of FIFA has added his voice to the racial abuse at the Ghanaian midfielder. It is speculated that FIFA may sanction Italian football over their maltreatment of the Pescara midfielder.