Boateng makes a stand against racism

Posted by Sumeet Paul

AP Photo/Emilio AndreoliAC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng made a stand against abuse

Fines, stadium bans and pre-match statements read by respective captains addressing the problem of racism. Unfortunately, both individually and collectively they do little to tackle the issue, repeat offenders are merely temporarily chastised as football fans are blamed for tarnishing the game with disgraceful abuse.

- Horncastle: Boateng's protest a vital step

While few recognise or have solutions to the problem that this is a social failing beyond the realms of a football ground, Kevin-Prince Boateng rightly decided to take action into his own hands this week.

In a meaningless winter break friendly, the majority of the Pro Patria crowd in attendance were with family and young children to enjoy an opportunity to see the stars of the Rossoneri. However a minority of fans decided to target Boateng. Having gained possession midway through the first-half, the Ghanaian picked up the ball and smashed it in the direction of the alleged offenders, seemingly having had enough of their abuse.

Having decided to then exit the pitch, Boateng's actions were met with applause from the majority of the supporters who understood his reaction and whole-heartedly supported it. His decision was praised throughout the footballing world, and rightfully so, despite some nonsensical rule suggesting there was a possibility of punishment for Milan, only to be spared due to the lack of significance of the game.

With his team-mates fully backing their fellow professional and friend by leaving the pitch in unison, the player and club made a bold statement. However, some have questioned whether it was the right thing to do, in that it almost empowers the offenders, having had an effect on both the player and the game.

The situation is nothing new in Italy and it is a little more complicated considering the fan culture. We've been here before and certain 'supporters' are undeterred by the feeble punishments handed out, most of which are aimed at the clubs and not the actual offenders. Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri stated he "hoped it can be an important signal" and called for a "stop to these uncivilized gestures".

Boateng himself took to Twitter in the aftermath of the game, noting that it is a shame that these things still happen. The club released a statement calling on Italian football to "definitively isolate those tiny, tiny people who infest our stadiums".

While Boateng will receive praise from all quarters for his actions, it is hopefully a trigger for more to be done. Perhaps the authorities, and more importantly the clubs themselves will react, passing down stricter punishments for those guilty of such moronic behaviour. Perhaps that still won't be enough. Perhaps other players will take inspiration from Boateng, leaving the field in competitive matches and sending an even stronger signal.

With all the weak punishments that have done little to change the mentality of certain 'fans', and have instead been aimed at curbing their behaviour, more must be done to identify the offenders. More must be done to remove this immorality by looking at the social aspects as opposed to limiting it to the football stands. But I have nothing but praise for Boateng for his actions on Thursday.

Was Boateng right to leave the pitch? What more could/should be done to tackle racism not just in Italy but in football across the world?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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