AC Mi­lan slam al­leged racist abuse of kids by moms and dads at in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JUSTIN DAVIS

AC Mi­lan have hit out af­ter sev­eral black play­ers in the Serie A side’s un­der-10 squad al­legedly suf­fered racist abuse at the hands of par­ents at­tend­ing an in­ter­na­tional ju­nior soc­cer tour­na­ment over the Easter week­end.

The in­ci­dents are be­lieved to have taken place dur­ing the side’s 4-0 win over Paris Saint-Ger­main in the Uni­ver­sal Cup, cur­rently tak­ing place in Forte dei Marmi in Tus­cany, on Sun­day.

Play­ers’ agent Mino Raiola, who rep­re­sents Mario Balotelli and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic among other top stars, sounded the alarm when he posted a mes­sage about the scenes on Twit­ter late on Sun­day.

“In shock about to­day’s Mi­lan/PSG in Uni­ver­sal Cup, par­ents boo­ing colour 10 year olds. Heads up boys we’re stronger than weak ig­no­rant racists,” said Raiola.

Mi­lan on Mon­day did not con­firm whether the in­ci­dents took place, but said if con­firmed they were “un­ac­cept­able.”

“We have been told of al­leged inci- dents of a racist na­ture dur­ing yes­ter­day’s game be­tween Mi­lan and PSG in which colored kids were tar­geted by ‘peo­ple’ at­tend­ing the game,” read the state­ment.

“We do not want to am­plify or ex­ag­ger­ate any­thing, but we sin­cerely hope the al­le­ga­tions are un­founded or that it has been an iso­lated case.

“How­ever, if they are true, it is ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able.”

AC Mi­lan’s team went on to win the tour­na­ment, beat­ing In­ter Mi­lan 4-0 in the fi­nal.

A club state­ment said: “Mi­lan thor­oughly de­served to win the tour­na­ment in what has been a big foot­balling and life ex­pe­ri­ence, a group that has been strength­ened af­ter Sun­day’s al­leged racist in­ci­dent and now noth­ing but sat­is­fac­tion for their suc­cess out on the pitch.”

It is the lat­est in a long line of in­ci­dents of a racist na­ture to sully Ital­ian soc­cer.

In Jan­uary 2013, for­mer Mi­lan for­ward Kevin Prince-Boateng re­opened the de­bate into how to tackle racism in soc­cer when he and sev­eral other black play­ers were tar­geted by racists dur­ing a friendly with a lower di­vi­sion side.

Boateng walked off the pitch, his team­mates fol­lowed and the game, against Pro Pa­tria, was aban­doned.

Boateng and for­mer team­mate Balotelli were tar­geted by monkey chants later that sea­son by fans of ri­val Serie A side Roma.

More re­cently, for­mer Italy and AC Mi­lan coach Ar­rigo Sac­chi kicked up a storm that war­ranted a stiff re­sponse from the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment when he com­plained un­der-20 teams in Italy con­tained “too many blacks.”

Graziano Del­rio, the state sec­re­tary to Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi who also holds re­spon­si­bil­ity for sport in the Ital­ian coun­cil of min­is­ters, hit out: “The Italy of 30 years ago is not the Italy of to­day.

“To­day there are young play­ers who are Ital­ian cit­i­zens in fact and by right given that they were born and raised in Italy, even if their par­ents had over­seas roots.

“They are part of the young gen­er­a­tions who go to our schools, who play on our foot­ball and sports fields.

“And the theme of skin color is cer­tainly not where we should start try­ing to re­vi­tal­ize our youth sys­tem.”

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