Italy bans Ghanaian footballer for anti-racist protest

Sulley Muntari argues with the referee.

Italian soccer authorities were branded as “gutless” amid calls for strikes from the league’s Black players after a Ghanaian player was banned for protesting racist crowd abuse.

During a May 1 match between Cagliari and Pescara in Italy’s top league, the Serie A, Pescara’s Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari was given a yellow card for dissent after he protested opposition fans’ racist taunting.

Muntari was seen complaining to the referee to stop the game after coping with abuse throughout the game. He shouted at the fans that “this is my colour”.

The 32-year-old then received a second yellow card for walking off the pitch in protest and was given an automatic one-game ban by authorities for abandoning the game without the referee's permission.

The Serie A’s disciplinary committee said no action had been taken against the group of Cagliari supporters because they were only a group of 10 — apparently not enough to be punished under the league's rules.

International players association FIFPro said in a statement: “We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.

“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.”

[Abridged from .]