Blatter under fire for Milan comments
Sepp Blatter has come under fire following his “nonsensical” comments that Kevin-Prince Boateng and Milan were wrong to “run away” when targeted by racist chants during a friendly match in Italy last week.
The Fifa president claimed that the Rossoneri player should not have walked off the pitch after being abused by a section of supporters from Pro Patria, a fourth division side. Blatter also warned that a repeat incident could result in a forfeited result for any team that leaves the pitch.
Milan’s players wore anti-racism shirts during their warm-up for yesterday’s Serie A match against Siena, and their decision to protest against the chanting was backed by the club’s owner, Silvio Berlusconi, and manager, Massimiliano Allegri.
Piara Powar, the executive director of the Fare network, which aims to rid football of racism, said Blatter was in no position to tell Boateng how to react in the face of such abuse.
“We disagree entirely with the idea that Kevin-Prince Boateng ran away from the Milan match in which he was subjected to racial abuse. It’s a nonsensical suggestion,” he said.
“What does Sepp Blatter know about what it is to be abused or excluded because you are an ethic minority, and what might be the right or wrong way to respond? The point is that the hard won processes put in place to deal with issues of discriminatory abuse, that apply from referees all the way up to international disciplinary commissions, are not being implemented.
“There seem to be so many statements being made off the cuff by football administrators on important issues of policy that are ill-thought out. The message going out is one of indifference by governing bodies.”
Allegri also defended his players. “We wanted to give a signal. Players can’t suspend a match but others can,” he said.
On the Boateng incident, Blatter told The National newspaper in United Arab Emirates: “Walk off? No. I don’t think that is the solution. I don’t think you can run away, because then the team should have to forfeit the match. This issue is a very touchy subject, but I repeat there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium.”