Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari booked for protest to racist chants
Pescara's Sulley Muntari walked off the field in protest during a Serie A game away to Cagliari after he was booked by the referee for protesting against racist abuse from fans on Sunday.
The former Ghana international midfielder said he heard racial slurs from a section of the home supporters and brought the incident to the attention of referee Daniele Minelli, pointing to his skin and demanding the match be stopped.
The referee, who apparently did not hear the chanting, opted to instead book the former AC Milan man. Muntari then walked off the field in protest before confronting some of the home fans while slapping his own skin.
"What am I supposed to do? Just stand there and let it go?" he said on Sky Calcio after the game "That sets a bad culture. We need this to stop."
Muntari received the backing of Alessandro Del Piero, who works as a pundit for Sky Calcio, after the match. "You handled things perfectly," the Juventus and Italy legend told the 32-year-old. "You did everything right."
Pescara coach Zdenek Zeman, who watched his side finish the game with 10 men, was critical of the referee's handling of the incident, but also suggested that Muntari should not have taken matters into his own hands.
"Muntari heard racist chants and asked the referee to intervene," the coach told Sky Sport Italia. "There's so much talk about what we should do, but then we do nothing and shrug it off.
"Muntari left us down to 10 men, he left of his own volition when we could've still had our say in the final minutes. The Cagliari fans constantly hurled racist chants at him and he asked the referee to intervene. Sulley therefore decided to leave in protest."
Pescara, who are already relegated, lost the game 1-0 and remain at the foot of the table having taken 14 points from 34 top flight outings.