Black players in Italy urged to strike after Muntari is handed suspension | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 03.05.2017
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Black players in Italy urged to strike after Muntari is handed suspension

An anti-discrimination group has called Italy's football authorities "gutless" after Sulley Muntari was banned for walking off the pitch following racist abuse in a Serie A game. There have also been calls for a strike.

Britain's Kick It Out group, which has been prominent in seeking to eradicate racism from football, reacted to the news that Muntari, 32, will be banned for one match after walking off the pitch at Cagliari after being subjected to racist abuse from the crowd.

The Pescara midfielder, who is Ghanaian, was booked for dissent after complaining to the referee about the abuse on Sunday and left the pitch in protest during stoppage time, leaving his team to play out the match with 10 men.

"The gutless failure to not take action by the Italian authorities should not be allowed to pass," Kick It Out said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It's unbelievable that Cagliari escaped punishment as 'only 10' fans were involved. This situation should never be allowed to happen again."

Serie A's disciplinary committee have said no action will be taken against Cagliari because only about 10 fans were involved in abusing Muntari. Their rules dictate that more than 1 percent of supporters must be involved before the organization can take action.

Freundschaftspiel AC Mailand gegen Pro Patria Reaktion Boateng rassistische Äußerungen (AP)

Kevin Prince Boateng also left the pitch after suffering racial abuse

The incident drew further comment from former Tottenham player and current BBC pundit Garth Crooks, who called on players in Italy to take action.

"Garth Crooks, an independent Kick It Out trustee, is calling for every self-respecting black player in the Italian League to not play this weekend unless the Italian authorities withdraw the ban on Sulley Muntari," Kick It Out's statement continued.

"It's unbelievable that Cagliari escaped punishment as 'only 10' fans were involved. This situation should never be allowed to happen again."

 This is not the first time Italian football has been at the center of a racism row. In 2013, the AC Milan team left the pitch during a friendly in the town of Busto Arsizio after home fans insulted former Schalke midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, another Ghanaian.

mp/dv (Reuters/AP)

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