AC Milan have condemned the racist abuse of defender Kevin Constant at the pre-season Trofeo Tim on Tuesday night while informing the player that he should not have left the field of play.
Constant walked off with just over ten minutes remaining of a 45-minute match with Sassuolo after hearing racial chanting from the crowd in Reggio Emilia. His team-mates continued to the end of the game, which Milan lost 2-1.
The Rossoneri published a statement on Wednesday criticising the behaviour of the fans, but also of Constant to take it upon himself to walk away.
“On the evening of 23 July 2013, there was the latest episode of vulgar racial intolerance, this time the victim was Kevin Constant, who reacted by leaving the field of play,” read the statement on the club's official website.
“This was not a decision for him to take and, while fully understanding the reasons, as well as the anger which led to Constant’s civil protest, AC Milan must remind everybody that any interference with protests which offend human dignity, which includes racial discrimination, is only the responsibility of the public safety authorities of the match officials.
“However… this despicable context which is repeating itself with a worrying frequency must not be ignored. There is no excuse for racism, whether this be manifested by disgusting thoughts which divide mankind due to the colour of skin or nationality, or if it is manifested in noises, words or gestures… by people who cannot even form opinions, however horrible they are.
“Members of one or the other category do not deserve to be tolerated, and from today, we no longer tolerate them. It is not only about defending a footballer or a sport, but a civilised world, to which these people have never belonged.”
On the website of the Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan’s vice president Adriano Galliani expressed his “absolute solidarity” with Constant, but repeated that Constant should not have taken it upon himself to leave the field of play.
“Although it was scandalous, the rules are clear: when something happens like that, you turn to the referee who passes it on to the fourth official who informs the police, who are the only people authorised to suspend a game, but you can’t just walk off the field,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Italian football federation (FIGC) have launched an enquiry into the incident, which overshadowed the pre-season event which also involved Juventus on Tuesday.