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Rediff.com  » Sports » Italians and racism in sport: UN hails Pescara's Muntari for walk-off

Italians and racism in sport: UN hails Pescara's Muntari for walk-off

May 02, 2017 11:33 IST

Muntari said he had complained that parts of the crowd, including a group of children, had hurled racist insults at him from the start of his Italian team's game at Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday.

In another shameful incident, Team Sky's rider Moscon used racist language against cyclist Reza at last week's Tour de Romandie

Pescara's Sulley Muntari reacts after the crowds threw racist chants in his direction during the Serie A match against Cagliari Calcio at Stadio Sant'Elia in Cagliari, Italy, on Sunday

IMAGE: Pescara's Sulley Muntari reacts after the crowds threw racist chants in his direction during the Serie A match against Cagliari Calcio at Stadio Sant'Elia in Cagliari, Italy, on Sunday. Photograph: Enrico Locci/Getty Images

The United Nations' top human rights official hailed Pescara's Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari as an "inspiration" on Monday for leaving the pitch in protest after the player said he was booked for complaining about racist chanting.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said FIFA needed to pay greater attention to the persistent problem of racism at games - and that his office had been in touch with soccer's governing body.

Muntari said he had complained that parts of the crowd, including a group of children, had hurled racist insults at him from the start of his Italian team's game at Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday.

The player said the referee then told him to stop talking to the crowd and ended up showing him the yellow card for dissent in the 90th minute.

Zeid called Muntari "an inspiration to all of us here at the U.N. human rights office" for taking a stand.

The persistent problem of racism at games required "added attention or deepened attention by FIFA," he told reporters in Geneva.

His office had been in touch with the organisation, he said without saying when, and he planned to attend an international match in about six weeks' time to spread the message that "racism and expressions of bigotry should not be tolerated at major sporting events".

Zeid recalled another "deeply alarming" match, in Ukraine, where Dynamo Kiev fans wore Ku Klux Klan outfits and swastikas.

Italy and other countries have struggled to stamp out racist chants at games. In 2013, the AC Milan team left the pitch during a friendly in the town of Busto Arsizio after home fans insulted midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, another Ghanaian.

Under guidelines introduced following that incident, the referee is supposed to alert the fourth official who should in turn contact authorities policing games.

FIFA last week fined Argentina, Mexico and Brazil for their fans' homophobic chants - sign of a growing crackdown on the insults often hurled at opposing goalkeepers.

Team Sky give Moscon six-week ban after racist incident

Team Sky's cyclist Gianni Moscon

IMAGE: Team Sky's cyclist Gianni Moscon. Photograph: Twitter

Team Sky have suspended rider Gianni Moscon from racing for six weeks and given the Italian a written warning after a racist incident at last week's Tour de Romandie, the British outfit said in a statement on Monday.

Moscon, 23, was alleged to have used racially abusive language toward FDJ's Kevin Reza at the end of Friday's third stage with the Italian later apologising to the Frenchman.

"There was a big fight at the finish and, yes, it hurt Kevin," Team Sky's Nicolas Portal told Cyclingnews on Saturday.

"After the stage Gianni apologised and we went to see FDJ this morning to make the effort so they know we take it seriously.

"Kevin accepted and that was nice that the two guys could shake hands and that there was an apology. There's no excuse for that but we moved on."

Portal added: "I don't want to comment (on what Moscon said) but it wasn't nice. If Kevin wants to comment then he will. It was a big incident for us and for him and we treated it."

Team Sky's statement on Monday said: "Following a disciplinary meeting with Team Sky concerning an incident at the Tour of Romandie, Gianni Moscon has been given a formal written warning and suspended from racing for six weeks. He will also attend a diversity awareness course.

"Gianni recognises that his behaviour was wrong and how seriously Team Sky take this kind of incident.

"He apologised to Kevin Reza after the stage and again to him and his team the following morning, and this apology was accepted.

"Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behaviour and that any repeat will result in termination of his contract."

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