AC Milan racism protest applauded for setting precedent against bigotry
MILAN (AFP) - AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi pledged on Friday that his team would walk off the pitch again to support a player who was victim of racist abuse by fans, as the move was widely hailed as setting a precedent against bigotry.
Italy's former prime minister, who is both president and owner of the club, spoke out a day after German-born Ghanaian forward Kevin-Prince Boateng was heckled during a friendly by fans of Pro Patria and the Milan giants left the field in protest.
Boateng won plaudits for taking a stance against racist fans who blight the game, although some, including former Milan players Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf, questioned his approach.
Berlusconi, however, said he would back his team if they walked off the pitch again whether in domestic or continental matches, calling the scenes at fourth-tier Pro Patria, who are based in Busto Arsizio, near Milan, "disgraceful".