AC Milan punished over fan racism
AC Milan have become the latest club to fall foul of strict new Serie A rules aimed at wiping out racism by having part of the north stand of the San Siro closed for their clash with Sampdoria next weekend.
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Lazio and Inter Milan have already suffered partial stadium closures this season after some of their fans were observed racially insulting opposition players and this time Milan, who hit the headlines in January when the team walked off the field during a friendly when Kevin-Prince Boateng was racially insulted, are now set to pay the price.
According to a Lega statement, they are “obliged to play one game with the area of the stadium named 'secondo anello blu' free from fans after some of their followers expressed an insulting, explicit and discriminatory chant towards an opposition player based on his origins three times (before the game, when the teams entered the field and in the 19th minute of the second half).”
The chants were heard during Milan’s 2-1 defeat to Napoli, the Rossoneri’s first defeat to the Azzurri since 1986. With a statement on their own website, Milan have announced they will appeal the decision, as well as the three-game ban sanctioned for Mario Balotelli’s red card at the conclusion of the same game.
Milan travel to Bologna on Wednesday night before hosting Sampdoria, without Balotelli and a section of their fans, with a trip to Juventus on the agenda a week later. Unless the appeal is successful, Balotelli will also miss that game while he is likely to be ignored by Italy coach Cesare Prandelli when he names his squad to face Denmark and Armenia next month due to the national team’s ethical code which excludes players for any lack of discipline for their clubs.