ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called on the Italian Football Federation to take action after bananes were thrown at Milan players by Atalanta fans at the weekend.
He has also demanded a response from the Russian Football Union after a Dinamo Moscow player was punched by a fan during an abandoned match away to Zenit in St Petersburg.
Blatter said, via Twitter: “Racism, and games stopped/abandoned due to acts of hooliganism. Each federation needs to act. Sanctions are available & HAVE to be applied.
The banana-throwing at Sunday’s Serie A match at Atalanta is the third time in three weekends that acts of racism have been witnessed at top-level matches in Europe.
In Spain Barcelona’s Dani Alves took a bite out of a banada thrown at him a fortnight ago while Levante’s Papakouli Diop was subjected to racism gestures during a victory over Atletico Madrid on May 4.
“Whoever threw the banana on the pitch deserves to have a coconut thrown back at them,” Atalanta boss Stefano Colantuono told local media. “They’ve ruined what was a great afternoon.”
A club statement read: “President Antonio Percassi has personally telephoned AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani to make the club’s official apology for what happened to Constant during the match.
“The conversation was very friendly and Galliani, in accepting the apology, said he accepted it was an isolated incident. Percassi will call Constant to personally offer him the club’s official apology.”
Atalanta are talking to the authorities and carrying out an investigation into finding “the culprit behind such an unspeakable gesture”.
Zenit were trailing 4-2 in their match when a fan approached Dinamo captain Vladimir Granat from behind and punched him in the head.
A Zenit statement read: “The behaviour of the fans is affecting in the most serious way their own club, the players and our many millions of supporters.
“At present the police and the club are trying to find the fan and we are preparing evidence for a criminal case.”
The Italian Football Federation has yet to respond to Sunday’s events.