Soccer: Player stops match after racist chant

AC Milan striker Kevin-Prince Boateng stormed off the pitch on Thursday, forcing a halt to an away game against fourth-tier club Pro Patria after racist chants from a group of local fans.

"Shame that these things still happen,'' the 25-year-old German-born Ghanaian player said on his Twitter account after the friendly was stopped in the 26th minute when he led his team off the pitch.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said: "Pulling out was the right choice with something like this.

"We have to stop it with these uncouth acts. Italy as a country has to improve and become more civilised and intelligent,'' he told reporters.

Captain Massimo Ambrosini added: "That was intolerable, it was only a friendly. We couldn't have gone on like that, we had to give a signal.''

Boateng picked up the ball, kicked it towards the Pro Patria stands and walked off the pitch in the stadium of Pro Patria's home town of Busto Arsizio, some 40 kilometres from Milan.

His teammates joined him despite Pro Patria players begging them to stay and whistles from a majority of the home fans against the racists.

There were many expressions of support for Boateng from football fans on social media.

But town mayor Gigi Farioli said Boateng's reaction had been "inappropriate'' and he should have been sent off for "kicking a ball at 200 kilometres an hour towards a fan''.

Farioli, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, said he had been at the game and "heard nothing'' from the stands.

"I was told there were three or four idiots who maybe were not even from Busto who shouted a few boos at the players,'' he said.

Boateng, who played for Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, was previously at Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund and Portsmouth.

- AFP

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