Crooks calls on black players to strike in Italy over Muntari

Date published: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 4:00

Garth Crooks has called for black players in Italy to go on strike unless the suspension imposed on Sulley Muntari is lifted, according to anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out.

Pescara midfielder Muntari must serve a one-match ban after he protested against alleged racial abuse from fans during the Serie A game at Cagliari on Sunday.

The 32-year-old was cautioned for dissent after asking the referee to stop the match, and then walked off the pitch which earned him a second yellow card.

Muntari is now banned for one match, while a statement on Serie A’s official website confirmed authorities had made the decision ”not to take sanctioning measures against Cagliari”.

The statement, published on www.legaseriea.it, claimed ”only 10 supporters, and therefore less than one per cent” of fans were directly involved in the incident.

Kick It Out has branded the Italian authorities “gutless” while former Tottenham striker Crooks called for “every self-respecting black player” to refuse to play this weekend unless Muntari’s ban is overturned.

A Kick It Out statement read: “Kick It Out has made representation to FIFPro, the World Players’ Union, to share its frustrations about the treatment of Sulley Muntari by the FIGC (the Italian Football Federation).

“The gutless failure to not take action by the Italian authorities should not be allowed to pass.

“It’s unbelievable that Cagliari escaped punishment as ‘only 10’ fans were involved. This situation should never be allowed to happen again.

“Garth Crooks, an independent Kick It Out trustee, is calling for every self-respecting black player in the Italian league to not play this weekend unless the Italian authorities withdraw the ban on Sulley Muntari.”

Speaking to Italian television after the match, Muntari said he had been abused by a group of fans in the first half but had tried to defuse the situation by giving one of the group, a child, his shirt ”to teach him you’re not supposed to do things like that”.

The former Portsmouth, Sunderland, Inter and AC Milan star, who played 84 times for Ghana, said the abuse continued in the second half so he tried to speak to the referee.

Muntari said: ”He told me that I’m not allowed to speak to the fans. I asked him: ‘But didn’t you hear?’

”I told him he should have had the courage to stop the game. The referee’s not just there to stand on the pitch and blow his whistle – he has to manage everything.

“He should also listen out for that kind of thing and set an example.”

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