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Football | Italy

Silvio Berlusconi @ Getty Images

Berlusconi disagrees with Blatter



AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has disagreed with Joseph Blatter over the FIFA president's initial comments on players walking off the pitch if they are faced with racism.

Following the decision by AC Milan players to leave the field in a match last week, Blatter was quoted as saying he did not feel the solution was for players to "run away" from racist abuse.

Berlusconi told Tgcom24, a news programme from a television channel he owns, late Monday: "I have an opposite opinion (to Blatter's).

"I complimented my players for their courage. (The boos and jeers) were an uncivilized behaviour. Football is a metaphor of life and teams are an example of civilization. What happened damaged everyone and also the image of Italy."

Milan's Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng was followed by his team-mates when he left the pitch Thursday in Busto Arsizio, where some fans of the local Pro Patria side repeatedly booed him and his team-mates of African origin during a friendly.

Six fans of Pro Patria have banned from stadiums for five years and are being investigated for racial offences.

Blatter told FIFA's Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich Monday that walking off the pitch if racially abused "cannot be the solution in the long term."

But he praised Boateng's action, saying: "If a player walks off the pitch because he has been racially abused, just as Kevin-Prince Boateng did, it is a strong and courageous signal, a way of saying, 'This has gone this far, but it goes no further'. That is praiseworthy."

Blatter said football had, however, to find "other sustainable solutions" to tackle the problem.

"Otherwise, such stands will be made in isolation and lost in the heat of general controversy. Football must not separate people. Football must bring people together," he said.

Berlusconi meanwhile also spoke about the unruly Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, ruling out his possible purchase during the January market.

"If you place a bad apple in a changing room it can infect all the others," he said. "I would never accept that he becomes part of Milan," he said.

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