Berlusconi wades into race row

Far be it from us humble sports reporters to commentate on the current state of foreign politics, but when it falls to a disgraced and allegedly corrupt former Italian president to – quite rightly - speak out against the footballing authorities…well, you can’t argue can you?

Berlusconi wades into race row

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January 7th, 2013

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And so, Silvio Berlusconi – tax-payer, truth-teller and gift-giver – hit out at Sepp Blatter’s comments regarding the abandonment of a friendly match involving AC Milan last week, when Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng left the field in disgust over racial abuse from members of the crowd. His team’s captain Massimo Ambrosini then instructed their teammates to do the same in an outstanding show of solidarity – going on to wear anti-racism messages on their jerseys prior to yesterday’s win against Siena.

Sepp Blatter questioned the midfielder’s decision to leave the field of play – despite his repeated protests to the referee threatening to do just that. “Walk off? No. I don’t think that is the solution…as I understand it, the player ran away and the others went with him.”

Blatter went on to warn that similar actions by players in future could lead to matches being forfeited. (Boateng maintained that he would have done the same thing, no matter what the stakes of the game it happened at.)

Speaking to RTL radio earlier today, the AC Milan club president Mr Berlusconi expressed his being “of the opposite view” to Blatter.

“In fact, I thanked and congratulated my players for their decision to leave the field during the friendly in Busto Arsizio.

“This is an uncivilised problem that needs to be stopped, people should not allow these things to happen.

“Teams out on the pitch should set an example of civility and the educational role of football should not be underestimated.

“It’s not only about the behaviour of players in the game, but of the public, and everyone needs to avoid giving Italy a negative image.”

So there you have it folks – if there’s one man who knows all about giving Italy a negative image, it’s Silvio Berlusconi. Senior football figures would do well to heed his words for fear of causing similar upset.

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