Garth Crooks has called on “every self-respecting black player in the Italian league” to boycott this weekend’s Serie A fixtures in response to Sulley Muntari’s sanction after reporting that he was the victim of racial abuse from opposition fans.
Former Inter Milan and Portsmouth midfielder Muntari, who now turns out for Italian side Pescara, was subject of racial abuse by a section of Cagliari fans during the recent Italian league match. Muntari reported the abuse to referee Daniele Minelli, who elected not to take action over the allegations but to show Muntari a yellow card for dissent.
The Italian Football Federation [FIGC] announced on Tuesday that Muntari’s yellow card, his fifth of the season, will not be rescinded, and that he will have to serve a one-match ban as a result of the booking accumulation.
Muntari responded to the booking by walking off the pitch and shouting at those abusing him “this is my colour”, but while the Serie A disciplinary commission agreed that the actions of the Cagliari fans was “deplorable”, they decided not to take action against Cagliari because it was only "approximately 10" people responsible for the abuse, less than one per cent of the total attendance.
The astonishing lack of action over the racial abuse led to a statement from FifPro, the world players’ union, calling for Uefa to take action, and now a strongly-worded statement from anti-racism organisation Kick It Out has labelled the FIGC’s decision a “gutless failure”, with trustee Crooks calling for the boycott this weekend.
“Kick It Out has made representation to FifPro, the world players’ union, to share its frustrations about the treatment of Sulley Muntari by the FIGC [the Italian Football Federation],” a Kick It Out statement read on Wednesday.
“The gutless failure to not take action by the Italian authorities should not be allowed to pass.
“It’s unbelievable that Cagliari escaped punishment as ‘only 10’ fans were involved. This situation should never be allowed to happen again.
“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.”