AC Milan have walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Italian fourth-tier team Pro Patria in protest at racist chanting by the home fans.
MILAN, ITALY (REUTERS) - AC Milan walked off the pitch during a friendly match at Italian fourth-tier side Pro Patria on Thursday (January 3) in protest at racist chanting by the home fans, causing the game to be abandoned after less than half an hour.
"Milan left the pitch following racist insults on the part of a minority of the Pro Patria fans directed at (Kevin-Prince) Boateng, (M'Baye Niang, (Urby) Emanuelson and (Sulley) Muntari," the club said on their website.
A video posted on Youtube showed Boateng in possession near the penalty area when jeering was heard from fans nearby. He stopped playing, collected the ball and kicked it towards the stands then took his shirt off and walked off the pitch and his team mates followed.
"We have to stop it with these uncivilised gestures, this country, Italy, has to improve in this matter, it has to become a more civilised and intelligent country," said Milan coachMassimiliano Allegri.
"I am sorry for all those fans, all those children and families who came to the stadium on such a lovely day, it was a really lovely sunny day. Along with the club we have promised to come back for those people who came to the stadium in a civilised manner on such a beautiful day.
"I'm disappointed and saddened but I don't think we had any other choice, and I hope the same thing would happen in the championships from the minor leagues to Serie A. So I am sorry once again but I hope this uncivilised act doesn't happen ever again."
Captain Massimo Ambrosini said the jeering had started before the walk off.
"We are really sorry because of a few people many other people have been affected who came to see us play, to see a team like Milan play" Ambrosini said after the walk off.
"We say to those fans that Milan will make every effort to return here as soon as we can, to play another match and to allow particularly the children, who were here in great numbers, to come back and see us. Because this is what a city like Busto deserves," he said.
"But I repeat a strong message needed to be made.
"We wanted to send a message to everyone that it is time to finish with this kind of situation."
Based in the town of Busto Arsizio, Pro Patria play in the fourth tier of Italian football.