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Football | Ghana

The Prince gets world wide praise



Across the world there has been unanimous praise for Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng after he walked off the pitch in protest of racial abuse from opposing fans during a friendly game between his club AC Milan and an Italian fourth division side Pro Patria on Thursday.

Boateng, one of four black players repeatedly abused by the fans, was joined by the rest of his team-mates, leading to the referee abandoning the game which was 26 minutes old.

Also subjected to the abuse according to the Gazzetta dello Sport, was another Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari, Brazilian Urby Emanuelson, and M'Baye Niang.

Boateng, who while leaving the pitch waved to the spectators that showed their displeasure towards the racist fans, later tweeted: "Shame that these things still happen... #StopRacismforever."

"We are disappointed and saddened by what has happened," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said afterwards. "Milan play for the right to respect all players. We need to stop these uncivilised gestures."

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini also condemned the trolls: "Milan will come back (to Pro Patria) for the kids and people who've nothing to do with racism, but a strong signal had to be sent." he tweeted.

Senegal-born World Cup winner with France, Patrick Vieira, added his voice also on the same social networking site: "It was brave of Kevin-Prince Boateng to do what he did today, and it was the right thing. We need to stand up and stand together. Well done."

England defender Rio Ferdinand, one of the big name stars who in October protested the soft stance taken by football authorities in Europe towards racist offenders, added via Twitter: "If the stories about KPB walking off the pitch with team-mates after being racially abused are true, fair play to him. Well done #UefaStandUp"

Boateng's action which many believe could be the watershed in the fight against racism in football, also led to attacks on UEFA for what many see as their soft approach to fighting the scourge in the sport.

The president of the European football governing body, Michel Platini, notably warned last year that players who walked off the pitch if racially abused during the Euro 2012 would be booked.

Former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen wrote on Twitter: "That Prince-Boateng footage from the Milan game is shocking. Shame it takes a player to do that instead of the authorities being proactive."

Another former England star Gary Lineker tweeted: "The only way to change things is to punish the teams these vermin support. Not with meaningless fines but points!"

Fans across the world have also praised the action of Boateng and his Milan team-mates. However there were mixed reactions from Ghana whose fans are divided between their contempt for racism and their bitterness towards Boateng for what they see as his rejection of the Black Stars.

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