Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Sulley Muntari ban for racism protest overturned by Italian FA

Sulley Muntari ban for racism protest overturned by Italian FA

The Italian football federation has rescinded Sulley Muntari's one-match ban for walking off the field in response to racist abuse during a Serie A game.

The Italian football body said the decision was taken after it considered the "particular delicacy" of the case.

On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Civil rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, applauded Muntari for his reaction during Cagliari's 1-0 win.

Several Ghanaian players including Afriyie Acquah, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Godfred Donsah openly declared support for the 32-year-old, with the last of the trio - who interestingly once played for Cagliari - backing the boycott calls.

"As a game, football is working very hard to eradicate racial abuse from the game and the fact that there are these deterrents in the statute books gives us a fighting chance".

The referee, who apparently did not hear the chanting, opted to instead book the former AC Milan man. Muntari then walked off the field in protest before confronting some of the home fans while slapping his own skin.

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There was a dramatic start to the game as Marseille scored twice in the opening five minutes through Thauvin and Maxime Lopez. They must first, however, beat West Ham at the London Stadium, where the Hammers have struggled for form this term.

FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio told national news agency ANSA that he was "satisfied" with the appeal ruling "because roles and procedures which are guaranteed by our system were respected".

"This is an important victory to send a message that there's no place for racism in football, or society in general", he said.

"Anyone with a sense of justice will look at the situation and see the right thing has been done", Barnes told Press Association Sport.

"I'm calling on players in Italy, black and white, to make it absolutely clear to the federation in Italy that their position is unacceptable, and if the decision is not reversed then they withdraw their services until it is".

"To be penalized for leaving the field because the protocol hadn't been carried out was an insult to injury. We've got to the right place, albeit belatedly".

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