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Soccer: Milan's Boateng grateful for solidarity over racism

Midfielder led walk-off in friendly against fourth-tier side

04 January, 13:03
Soccer: Milan's Boateng grateful for solidarity over racism (ANSA) - Milan, January 4 - AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng on Friday said he was grateful for the solidarity he received after leading a walk-off during a friendly against a fourth-tier side following racist abuse.

The Ghanaian midfielder picked up the ball and kicked it towards a group of home supporters who were directing racist jeers at him in Thursday's match against Pro Patria at Busto Arsizio, north of Milan.

He then took off his shirt and walked off the pitch before Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini led the rest of the team off and the game was abandoned. Black Milan players M'Baye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari were also targeted.

The club, the Italian Soccer Federation and the Italian professional footballers' association all backed the players for standing up to racism, in addition to condemning the Pro Patria fans' behaviour. Boateng also received solidarity via Twitter from fans and former and current soccer stars such as Marco Materazzi, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

"Thank u all for the support and understanding...means a lot!!!" Boateng said on his Twitter account on Friday. Italian football has been battling racism in the stands for a number of years after several shameful high-profile incidents.

Criminal and FIGC prosecutors are looking into the Pro Patria case.