Pescara’s Muntari walks off in protest at racist abuse

Sulley Muntari (Antonio Calanni/AP)

CAGLIARI, Italy — Pescara’s Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari walked off the pitch in protest during his side’s Serie A match at Cagliari on Sunday after being booked for complaining to the referee about racist abuse from fans.

"They were chanting against me from the start," Muntari said. "In the first half, I saw that there were some children in the group and so I turned to their parents and gave them my shirt, to set an example.

"The issue continued with another group of fans. I was reasoning with them, but the referee told me I had to let it go. That’s when I got angry. Because instead of stopping the game, he decided to punish me."

Muntari told referee Daniele Minelli and his assistants several times about the chants from home fans in the final minute of Pescara’s 1-0 defeat. The official then showed the former Ghana international midfielder a yellow card.

The 32-year-old Muntari was so angry with the booking that he walked off the pitch, leaving his side in 10 men for stoppage time.

"The fans were wrong, but the referee had to act differently, not accuse me of causing trouble," the former Portsmouth midfielder said. "If the officials actually stopped games, I am convinced these things wouldn’t happen anymore."

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