London, Jan 4(ANI): Various football stars have come out in support of AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng after he refused to play on while being racially abused by fans during friendly against fourth-division Italian side, with Rio Ferdinand urging UEFA to take strictest of action.
Manchester United defender Ferdinand has called for UEFA to take action against Italian fans after Boateng walked off the pitch mid-match in protest against racist abuse coming from the stands.
The former Tottenham Hotspurs and Portsmouth midfielder caused Thursday’s friendly with fourth division Pro Patria to be abandoned in the first half, the Daily Mirror reports.
Ferdinand tweeted: “If the stories about KPB walking off the pitch with teammate’s after being racially abused are true, fair play to him..well done #UefaStandUp”
Meanwhile, Stoke City striker Michael Owen added: “That Prince Boatang footage from the Milan game is shocking. Shame it takes a player to do that instead of the authorities being proactive.”
The Italian Football Federation has announced an immediate inquiry and president Giancarlo Abete said the incident was unspeakable and intolerable, the paper said.
AC Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini claimed the racist jeering from the fans had started before the walk off.
AC Milan and the footballing world have praised Boateng after leading his side off the pitch in protest.
The Italian game has long been stained by racism with Lazio fans guilty of chanting against Tottenham players in both Europa League ties this season.
On Thursday, Boateng, the former Spurs and Portsmouth midfielder, finally made a stand when he was booed after 26 minutes of a friendly against Pro Patria.
The Ghanaian picked up the ball and kicked it at the crowd before taking off his shirt and leaving the pitch and he was followed by both sets of players and the officials.
Urby Emanuelson, Sulley Muntari and M’Baye Niang had also been targeted by the chants.
Boateng later tweeted: “Shame that these things still happen #StopRacismforever.” (ANI)