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Friday, January 4, 2013
Kevin-Prince Boateng has insisted he will walk off the pitch again if he is racially abused - even if it is in the Champions League - and criticised FIFA for not doing more to tackle the issue.
AC Milan’s former Portsmouth and Tottenham midfielder walked off during a club friendly yesterday followed by the rest of his team.
The 25-year-old Ghana international warned he will do the same again - and has been backed up by club president Silvio Berlusconi.
Boateng told CNN: “I don’t care what game it is - a friendly, Serie A or Champions League match, I’d walk off the pitch again and I think everyone would support me.
“I saw massive support from England and massive players like Rio Ferdinand and Patrick Vieira, and I want to say thank you.
“I’m sad and angry that I’m the one that has to take action.”
Boateng stormed off the pitch yesterday during a friendly against Italian fourth-tier side Pro Patria after several players were racially abused, and he said he had complained to the referee three times about the abuse.
“I said to him if it happens again I’m not going to play any more. The referee said ‘don’t worry’ but I said I do worry, it’s not very nice.
“I was angry and I was sad, but it all came together and I said I didn’t want to play any more. There were so many negative emotions that came up in me.
“I’m surprised we’re still hearing these things in 2013. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve had to hear or see things like this but I’m 25 and don’t want to take this bull***t any more.”
Berlusconi has claimed his players will always walk off the pitch in future in protest at racist abuse. That could put Milan and Boateng at loggerheads with FIFA and UEFA, who have previously warned against players taking such action.
FIFA would not comment directly on the Boateng incident but a spokesman said in a competitive match the referee would report the incident and then the disciplinary committee of the competition’s organisers would make a decision.
The spokesman said: “It would be for the referee to report and the disciplinary committee would have to look into it.”
Boateng said the world governing body should do more however.
He added: “So many people in FIFA can do something and they should wake up and do it. They should not tolerate it. They should ban people forever from the stadiums. That’s the first thing you can do.”
He also criticised Milan’s former midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, now playing in Switzerland with Sion, for downplaying the incident.
The former Rangers player told the Corriere della Sera: “Boateng certainly felt he was offended but I continue to not see it as racism. It just seems to be the latest episode of collective idiocy from a minority.
“How many times have there been boos against white players in the past? It’s happened to me to but I didn’t give it any importance.”
Boateng hit back however, saying: “I think if someone wasn’t there they can’t say there were no racist people there. Other players afterwards told me it wasn’t nice, to hear the noises of a monkey. It was 100% racist.
“It was nothing to do with football or any rivalry, it was a racist act and that’s why I acted like that.”
Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor sympathised with Boateng but believes it should be the referee who abandons the match.
Taylor told the Press Association: “The racist abuse should be reported to the match officials by the player and team captain, and then the crowd warned if the racist abuse continues the match will be abandoned.
“If the abuse does continue then the officials should abandon the game. The warning will also be an opportunity for responsible fans to influence those who are perpetrating the abuse.”