Rome

Soccer: Milan's Constant was not racially abused, say police

Midfielder walked off after abuse in friendly last month

Soccer: Milan's Constant was not racially abused, say police

Rome, August 1 - AC Milan midfielder Kevin Constant was not the victim of racist abuse in a friendly match in Reggio Emilia last month, when he walked off the field because of flak from fans, according to a police report released on Thursday. Guinean Constant, who is black, stormed off in rage after kicking the ball into the stands during a 45-minute match against promoted Sassuolo as part of the three-way friendly tournament that also featured Serie A champions Juventus. The incident appeared similar to the walk-off Milan's Ghanian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led at a friendly match at a fourth-tier side in January, hitting headlines worldwide. The police report said individual fans directed "sporadic offensive phases" at the player, including a call for him to have plastic surgery on his nose, but there was no evidence these were on a racist nature. It said Constant was booed by the crowd, but so were several other white Milan players. After the match Milan said it would not accept racist abuse against its players, but also said Constant should not have left the field. A substitute took Constant's place against Sassuolo and an announcement was made warning play would be stopped if the abuse continued. Boateng also kicked the ball into the crowd during January's match at fourth-tier Pro Patria, but on that occasion the whole Milan team walked off with him and the match was abandoned. The Italian Soccer Federation has opened a probe into the Reggio Emilia incident.

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