Rome

Players flinging racial slurs will be 'eliminated' from team

Pro Patria director says if guilty, insulting member 'to go'

Players flinging racial slurs will be 'eliminated' from team

Rome, January 21 - General Director Raffaele Ferrara of the fourth-tier Pro Patria team said on Monday that if members of his team had used racist insults against players from Turin's AS Casale during a youth match on Saturday, they would be eliminated from the team. "If the competent authorities verify that the supposed incident took place, the player will be dropped from the team, though he swore he did not say anything. I do not want to be the judge, we need an investigation," Ferrara said. Players from Casale walked off the field on Saturday in the 38th minute of play after 19-year-old Marco Padovan, originally from Brazil, said that he heard racist insults directed at him and team member Fabiano Ribeiro, also Brazilian, by a Pro Patria player. The incident comes 16 days after AC Milan's Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led a walk-off during a friendly after fans of Pro Patria directed racial jeers at him and other black players. Italian football has been battling racism in the stands for a number of years after several shameful high-profile incidents. Sepp Blatter, the head of international soccer's governing body FIFA, has said that walk-offs were the wrong way to deal with racist incidents in soccer. "The only solution is to be very harsh with the sanctions - and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar," Blatter said following the Boateng incident. Pro Patria was sanctioned for the jeering that caused the Boateng walk-off January 3, but AC Milan was not sanctioned for leaving the field. Sports judge Gianpaolo Tosel noted that while a team is not normally permitted to leave the field, unless ordered off by the referee, the "essential values of sport and civility," allowed players to make gestures of solidarity in the face of "vulgar insults". Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) chief Giancarlo Abete said on Monday that "racism must be discussed, but generalizations avoided otherwise we risk blowing the situation out of proportion and making the country appear worse than it is. We need to increase sanctions and provide more education".

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