FIFPro fully supports Kevin-Prince Boateng and his teammates of AC Milan. These players decided to leave the field during a friendly match at Pro Patria on Thursday in protest at racist chanting by spectators. The game was abandoned after 26 minutes.
According to the match report released by Milan, the team left the pitch following racist insults on the part of a minority of the Pro Patria fans directed at Boateng, M'Baye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari. All four players are black.
‘FIFPro fully understands and supports the actions of Kevin-Prince Boateng and his teammates’, says Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesperson on anti-racism. ‘It is sad and disappointing that these players had to leave the pitch due to the behaviour of a small group of so-called fans. But we have to draw a line.’
‘Kevin-Prince Boateng is a professional footballer - which is a privileged profession. But Kevin-Prince Boateng is also a human being. He is entitled to a working environment free of violence, racism and other forms of discrimination. Imagine yourself at work and someone standing right next to you is constantly insulting you in the worst way possible. Would you accept that?’
‘The decision by Boateng and his teammates may become an increasing trend that football has to deal with in the years ahead. Footballers today are (rightly) not prepared to accept racial abuse and any other form of discriminatory behaviour in the modern game.’
FIFPro is not encouraging other players to directly walk of the field when they are racially abused. ‘But the world of football has to realize that this abusive behaviour must stop. Racism has no place in society or football. The players of Milan sent a clear message: if racism does not stop, then football will.’
‘Football's governing bodies and governments must be part of an overall concerted effort to devise strategies to deal with this problem in our game.’
‘One solution would be to give referees more power to suspend or abandon games if they consider the racist abuse to be excessive. This would require referees to be educated and more informed about racism and how to deal with it on the field of play, but it is one step FIFPro feels must be taken if we are to confront this issue seriously.’
- Published: 04 January 2013