ROME: Italian Serie A club Udinese say they have identified and banned for life one of the hooligans guilty of abusive behaviour against Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the weekend.

Maignan and his team-mates walked off the pitch in protest and the match was suspended briefly, prompting an angry response from the football establishment including FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

A club statement said:

In a joint effort with the local police authorities and utilizing the Bluenergy Stadium security cameras, Udinese Calcio has identified the first individual responsible for discriminatory behaviour towards AC Milan player Mike Maignan.

This person will face a lifetime ban from attending any Udinese Calcio matches. This ban is effective immediately.

We believe that such strong measures are necessary to send a clear message that racism has no place in football or society. Udinese Calcio stands firmly against any form of discrimination, and we are determined to create an inclusive and respectful environment within our football community.

We thank the authorities for their cooperation and together we will continue to work tirelessly in order to identify and punish other individuals who were involved in this incident and that tarnish the sporting ethics of the club, the Region, the city of Udine and a fan base that has always been a model of integration and respect.

We want to ensure that our stadium remains a space where everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, background, culture, and language is able to enjoy the beautiful game without fear of discrimination. Udinese Calcio calls on all football stakeholders to unite in the fight against racism and discrimination, fostering an environment that celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion.