UK & World News
AC Milan Walk Off After 'Racist Chanting'
A football match in Italy came to a halt after AC Milan's entire team walked off the pitch in reaction to a player allegedly being racially abused by members of the crowd.
Midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng kicked the ball out of play and then stormed off the field in protest at perceived racist chants during a friendly match against fourth division side Pro Patria.
He was followed by the rest of the Milan side and the game was abandoned in the middle of the first half.
Boateng, who has previously played for Tottenham and Portsmouth in England, later posted his thoughts on Twitter in a succinct message.
He tweeted: "Shame that these things still happen... #StopRacismforever"
Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy backed his team-mate, tweeting: "I'm speechless, a shameful afternoon. I'm sorry for the intelligent people present at Busto, but walking off was right...."
English Premier League stars also took to Twitter, criticising the lack of action by the football authorities.
Michael Owen wrote: "That Prince Boatang footage from the Milan game is shocking. Shame it takes a player to do that instead of the authorities being proactive."
And former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira said: "It was brave of Kevin Prince Boateng to do what he did today, and it was the right thing. We need to stand up and stand together. Well done.
" ...Now is the time for the football authorities to stand up and do something. We need to see real actions that will have a genuine influence."
AC Milan's actions were supported by the club's management.
Director Umberto Gandini, who is also European Club Association chair, tweeted: "Very proud of the Milan players who decided to walk off the pitch today for racist abuse from few idiots! No racism, no stupidity!"
Similarly, coach Massimiliano Allegri said the club was "disappointed and saddened" by what happened.
He added: "Milan play for the right to respect all players. We need to stop these uncivilised gestures.
"We are sorry for all the other fans who came here for a beautiful day of sport. We promise to return, and we are sorry for the club and players of Pro Patria, but we could not make any other decision.
"I hope it can be an important signal."
Boateng, who plays for Ghana, has been praised by anti-racism campaigners.
Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE, called for the Italian FA to take strong action.
He said: "We salute Kevin-Prince Boateng for his actions and his team-mates for their support. This is the not the first time a player has walked off in Italy - if the situation continues it may not be the last.
"Italy, as much as any country in Europe, has a serious problem of racism to deal with. Football infrastructure is in need of renewal and at serious odds with the changing nature of Italian society. We look forward to strong action by the FIGC (Italian FA)."