An AC Milan match between the Italian giants and their fellow Serie A side, Sassuolo, was mired in controversy after midfielder Kevin Constant walked off the pitch due to racist abuse.
The Guinea international was taking part in the pre-season tournament match when the alleged attacks began, but by the 34th minute he’d already heard enough to kick the ball into the crowd and leave the pitch.
Milan decided to sent on a substitute in his place, whilst an announcement then circulated the stadium that warned the game was in danger of being stopped if it continued.
The Italian Football Federation has since released a statement confirming that an immediate inquiry will be launched. It read, “”The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation to ascertain the extent of the racist incident that took place at the Stadio del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia during the Milan-Sassuolo match, which saw AC Milan player Kevin Constant the subject of chants from some supporters in the stands.”
AC Milan released a statement themselves, which confirmed that Constant had legitimate reasons to leave the field of play, but that he did so of his own volition.
It read, “This was not a decision he should have taken upon himself to make. Despite his more than understandable reasons and the anger he must have felt, AC Milan would like to remind everyone that the only people responsible for intervening against any manifestations that offend the human dignity, which includes racial discrimination, are the referee in charge of the match and the head of public safety.”
The statement concluded that there should be “zero tolerance” for racism in the game though.
In January, Kevin Prince Boateng, who also plays for AC Milan, sparked a walk-off during their match against Pro Patria when racist abuse saw him pick up the ball and kick it into the crowd. Both sets of players and officials then followed him.