FIFPro union calls for action over Muntari
LONDON: Football’s international players’ union says that a yellow card handed out to Pescara’s Sulley Muntari should be rescinded after the Ghanaian international complained of racist abuse by fans in his team’s Italian league game.
Muntari walked off the field in protest after being booked for complaining in Sunday’s Serie A match at Cagliari. The midfielder said he had told the referee about racist abuse that had begun as soon as the match started.
FIFPro, the players’ union, issued a statement Tuesday saying it urged “Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”
The statement added that “Muntari’s yellow card should be rescinded” and that “players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.”
The 32-year-old Muntari, who said he had tried to reason with the fans, left his side with 10 men for stoppage time in the match, which Cagliari won 1-0.
“The fans were wrong, but the referee had to act differently, not accuse me of causing trouble,” the former Portsmouth midfielder said after the game. “If the officials actually stopped games, I am convinced these things wouldn’t happen anymore.”
FIFPro backed Muntari’s action, saying “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.”
Referee Daniele Minelli shows the yellow card to Pescara’s Sulley Muntari (third from left) in a Serie A match against Cagliari at Cagliari Sant’Elia Stadium in Italy on Sunday.