By Simon Evans
MANAMA (Reuters) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he intends to talk with Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari, the victim of racist abuse in Italian football, and vowed to fight racist “idiots”.
Muntari was booked for complaining about racist abuse during a match at Cagliari and subsequently suspended, although that sanction was later lifted.
The Ghanaian then walked off the field in protest in the final minutes of the game.
Infantino told reporters on Tuesday that he intended to talk with Muntari and would give him FIFA’s “full solidarity”.
The FIFA president also said he would be discussing the issue with Italian Football Federation President Carlo Tavecchio about the issue.
“Of course I will speak to Tavecchio, I will speak to Muntari as well… we will work together,” Infantino, who is in Bahrain for Thursday’s FIFA Congress said.
Asked what could be done about the issue, Infantino said: “Fight. Continue to fight. It’s good to bring these things out when they happen. We have to work. We have to work on the people.”
Infantino said the protocol, established by UEFA in Europe, with a series of stadium announcements leading up to a possible stopping of the game, should be applied.
“Unfortunately idiots, there are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them,” he said.
Muntari said he had complained that parts of the crowd, including a group of children, had hurled racist insults at him from the start of the game in Cagliari on April 30.
The player said the referee told him to stop talking to the crowd and ended up showing him the yellow card for dissent in the 90th minute.
The decision to punish Muntari has been widely criticised and the player himself has said FIFA and UEFA are not taking the issue of racism seriously.