ROME: Sulley Muntari has been handed a one-match by the Italian fedration’s disciplinary commission for walking off the pitch at the weekend writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Pescara’s Ghanaian midfielder walked off the pitch in protest during a Serie A match at Cagliari on Sunday after being booked for complaining to the referee about racist abuse from fans.
Muntari told referee Daniele Minelli and his assistants several times about the chants from home fans in the final minute of Pescara’s 1-0 defeat.
The official then showed the former Ghana international midfielder a yellow card, prompting the 32-year-to old walk off in protest.
He was subsequently issued with a second yellow card, and thus red, for the technical offence of leaving the pitch without permission.
The commission thus confirmed the automatic application of a one-match suspension.
It decided not to take disciplinary measures against Cagliari because the racist abuse had been “chanted by approximately only 10 supporters and thus less than one per cent of the number of occupants in the sector (about two thousand), thus not breaching the assumption of minimum size which is the basis for misconduct.”
International players’ union FIFPro has insisted the Italian federation should hear Muntari’s version of events, investigate events and take firm action “to ensure this never happens again.”
This includes rescinding Muntari’s yellow cards.
A statement said: “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.
“Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.
“No player should ever feel the need to take matters into his own hands, as Muntari clearly felt obliged to do, by abandoning the match or taking spectators to task for inappropriate behaviour.
“Professional footballers should expect to be adequately protected by the relevant authorities in a place of work that does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”