No regrets: Boateng vows to repeat protest if racism continues

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Jan 5th, 2013
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Image: Emilio Andreoli/AP/Press Association Images

AC MILAN’S KEVIN Prince Boateng has vowed to walk off the pitch again if he suffers more racist abuse no matter what the significance of the match.

Boateng was subjected to racist taunts by Pro Patria fans during a friendly on Thursday and the German-born Ghanaian forward responded by storming off the pitch in protest followed by his Milan team-mates.

The 25-year-old has been backed by Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and he is adamant the racists must not be allowed to win.

Boateng’s zero tolerance policy means the former Tottenham player is even willing to leave the pitch in a big Champions League or Serie A match if it helps draw attention to racist abuse.

“I don’t care what game it is — a friendly, Serie A or Champions League match, I’d walk off the pitch again and I think everyone would support me,” Boateng told CNN.

“I saw massive support from England and massive players like Rio Ferdinand and Patrick Vieira, and I want to say thank you. I’m sad and angry that I’m the one that has to take action.”

Boateng had complained to the referee three times about the abuse in the Pro Patria match and he finally reacted when no action was taken by the officials and the taunts continued.

“I said to him if it happens again I’m not going to play any more. The referee said ‘don’t worry’ but I said I do worry, it’s not very nice,” he said.

“I was angry and I was sad, but it all came together and I said I didn’t want to play any more. There were so many negative emotions that came up in me.

2013

“I’m surprised we’re still hearing these things in 2013. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve had to hear or see things like this but I’m 25 and don’t want to take this any more.”

Berlusconi has claimed his players will always walk off the pitch in future in protest at racist abuse.

That could put Milan at loggerheads with FIFA and UEFA, who have previously warned against players taking such action and some, including former Milan players Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf, questioned Boateng’s approach.

But Boateng said FIFA, the sport’s governing body, should do more to stamp out racism and also hit back at his critics.

“So many people in FIFA can do something and they should wake up and do it. They should not tolerate it,” Boateng said.

“They should ban people forever from the stadiums. That’s the first thing you can do.

“I think if someone wasn’t there they can’t say there were no racist people there.

“It was nothing to do with football or any rivalry, it was a racist act and that’s why I acted like that.”AFP

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