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FIFA and UEFA should come down extremely hard on Pro Patria

Jan 3, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 1.18.36 PM

As Steve reported earlier, in the 26th minute of a friendly match against fourth-division club Pro Patria, Kevin-Prince Boateng calmly picked up the ball, drop kicked it into the stands, and walked off a field after being subjected to racist chants. The rest of his AC Milan teammates followed at the behest of captain Massimo Ambrosini.

The soccer world, rightly so, is applauding their actions. They were courageous and honorable at a time when too much of this horrible behavior goes unpunished.

But, unfortunately, it never should have gotten to this point. According to the New York Times, there were “announcements over the stadium’s public-address system [that] failed to quell the chants coming from the stands.

In other words, the PA announcer went to the trouble of telling the fans to stop the racist chanting, they didn’t listen, and the game continued… until Boateng took matters into his own hands. That’s terrible. Just plain despicable. Pro Patria’s owners or management or someone with power should have taken action well before one of Milan’s players was forced to. Yes, canceling a game is a serious matter, but it pales in comparison to subjecting the men on the field to racism.

I know — or, at least, I imagine — that sadly this isn’t an isolated incident. Pro Patria (“For the Fatherland”) should be penalized, and penalized harshly. And so should any other team whose fans chant racist messages. This isn’t a PA announcer thing. This is a call the game thing. Full stop.

Two more thoughts, courtesy of Rob Stone:

If you haven’t seen the incident:

  1. charliej11 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    The league, inspite of Blatter, will sell itself by the deficiencies of the other leagues.

    Racism ? Give me a break, we have a 1/2 black in the White House.
    Can’t win your league unless you live to be 150 years old ? Columbus and Colorado did here in the last 5 years.
    Fan Violence ? Just make sure you know it is soccer here, not football, you will be fine.

  2. scottp11 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Wow, that is just awful. Seeing that captured through video puts a new perspective on it for me. It’s not a huge, loud stadium which have their share (big or small) of these racist moments, so it almost makes it more real and stark.

    I feel for him. Totally victimized, what’s he supposed to do? Stand there and take it? Punt the ball at them like he did?! Can’t imagine what it’s like to have something like that happen. Unreal.

  3. kingarthur900 - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Thank you for reporting on this, and for linking the video. It’s one thing to read about it, and quite another to watch it unfold.

  4. aaronmeeker0228 - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    This made significantly bigger news than the Spurs v WestHam “Hitler” incident…

    Clearly there are some major issues that FIFA and UEFA need to address. Can you imagine the media (not to mention minority groups and government) reaction if this were to happen in the US today?

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