A Principled Stand
By Derek Miller © Derek Miller January 3 2012
Standing Up to Racism
Kevin Prince Boateng set an example on racism that football’s governing bodies must heed. The former Black Star and AC Milan midfielder refused to tolerate the racist abuse hurled at him and team-mates Urby Emanuelson Mbaye Niang and Sulley Muntari by a section of supporters of fourth division side Pro Patria in a friendly taking place during Italy’s winter break.
After 26 minutes Boateng tore his shirt off and headed to the dressing room, after taking the trouble to applaud the sections of the crowd which expressed disgust at the racists. Boateng would not be dissuaded from his protest. He was followed off the pitch by his team-mates and the match was abandoned.
Years ago we highlighted Ivorian defender Mark Zoro’s threat to walk off against Inter. Sadly it seems that racism remains an issue in Italian football and in other countries too. Samuel Eto’o famously began to walk off the pitch against Real Zaragoza while playing for Barçelona. Boateng is the first to actually walk off, resulting in the match being abandoned.
The Italian Federation met Zoro, promising action years ago. Racism has yet to be eradicated in Italy, but that country is far from alone in having a problem with racism in football. It remains to be seen how the Italian Football Federation will react to Boateng and his protest and whether UEFA and FIFA will take a stand.