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Players' union wants Muntari yellow quashed after racism controversy

The former AC Milan and Inter midfielder dramatically left the field on Sunday.

Referee Daniele Minelli shows the yellow card to Pescara's Sulley Muntari.
Referee Daniele Minelli shows the yellow card to Pescara's Sulley Muntari.

WORLD PLAYERS’ UNION FIFPro urged Italian football powers Tuesday to quash Sully Muntari’s yellow card for leaving the pitch over the weekend, after fans hurled racial abused at the Ghanaian player.

The former AC Milan and Inter midfielder dramatically left the field on Sunday while playing for Pescara at Cagliari after he angrily confronted Cagliari fans, claiming to have been racially abused before being booked.

While leaving the pitch in frustration and murmuring “Basta! (Enough)”, Muntari went to address more supporters, showing them his arm and shouting: “This is my colour, this is my colour.”

Muntari, 32, received a one-match ban later Tuesday from Italian league officials for his decision to leave the field seconds before full-time — a decision that earned him a second yellow card, and then a red, from referee Daniele Minelli.

“FIFPro believes Muntari’s yellow card should be rescinded,” the Dutch-based union said in a statement.

Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution,” it said from its headquarters outside Amsterdam.

FIFPro urged Italian football authorities to “hear Muntari’s version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”

“No player should ever feel the need to take matters into his own hands, as Muntari clearly felt obliged to do, by abandoning the match or taking spectators to task for inappropriate behaviour,” it said.

But that was not to be, the Italian league saying they had imposed the ban on the Ghanaian for his protests and “non-regulation behaviour” after he left the pitch without authorisation.

There were no sanctions for Cagliari, however, the league ruling that the racist chanting came from “about 10 people, or less than one percent of the sector” of the stadium.

Muntari was at AC Milan when former teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng angrily walked off the pitch while being targeted with racist abuse during a friendly with lower league side Pro Patria in January 2013.

It prompted a wave of support on social media, although football’s ruling body FIFA, while applauding Boateng’s principles, said it did not condone his decision to walk off.

– © AFP 2017

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