ROME: Sulley Muntari has had his controversial one-match ban for protesting against racist abuse overturned.
Pescara’s Ghana midfielder left the field after being booked in Sunday’s Serie A game at Cagliari for complaining of being abused. Muntari was initially booked for dissent, then received a second yellow card for leaving the field.
Serie A’s disciplinary comission, although agreeing that the abuse Muntari received was “deplorable”, originally said that it could not impose sanctions on Cagliari because “approximately 10” supporters were involved – fewer than one per cent of their supporters in the ground.
Muntari said: “I feel that someone has finally listened and heard me. The last few days have been very hard for me. I have felt angry and isolated. I was being treated like a criminal. How could I be punished when I was the victim of racism?
“I hope my case can help so that other footballers do not suffer like me. I hope it can be a turning point in Italy and show the world what it means to stand up for your rights. This is an important victory to send a message that there’s no place for racism in football, or society in general.”
International players union FIFPro said it was surprised that Muntari’s club, Pescara, did not challenge the sanction. and it took a last-minute appeal by the Ghanaian himself, assisted by the Italian players union, Associazione Italiana Calciatori, to have the ban rescinded.
Muntari said he was grateful to AIC president Damiano Tommasi, adding: “Many people and organisations such as FIFPro and the UN supported me and I would like to thank everyone who assisted me.”
He is thus available to play for Pescara at home to Crotone.