#SayNoToRacism Italian football image damaged by Muntari treatment: Italian FA anti-racism adviser

Fiona May, the Italian Football Federation's anti-racism advisor has hit out at The Italian Football Association for slapping a one-match ban on Sulley Muntari for walking off the field in protest against racial abuse

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British-born former Olympic athlete Fiona May, who was hired by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) as anti-racism adviser believes that the image of Italian football has been damaged due to the one-match ban handed to Muntari after walking off the field for being racially abused.

Pescara midfielder Muntari, 32, was banned after he protested against racist abuse he received from the crowd during Sunday's Serie A match at Cagliari, which earned him a yellow card for dissent before he walked off.

A Serie A disciplinary committee upheld his punishment but said it could not punish the fans as only "approximately 10" were involved in the racist chants - not enough to trigger action under its own guidelines.

READ MORE Sulley Muntari banned for walking off over racist abuse

Fiona May said the decision to uphold the Pescara midfielder's punishment for protesting against racism while taking no action against fans had "sent a bad message".

She added she would strike in protest if she were a player.

"I'm frustrated and shocked," May said.

BBC football pundit Garth Crooks - a trustee of anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out - has called for Italy's players to go on strike in protest at Muntari's treatment and the the lack of punishment for the fans responsible.

play Fiona May


And the British-born former Olympic athlete May, who was hired by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in 2014, said: "If it was me, I would do that, if I wasn't part of the Federation, to say 'wait a minute, what's going on here?'

"I would say all players should consider it, to show solidarity," she told the BBC World Service World Football show - though she stressed she was speaking hypothetically.

May said the panel was wrong to follow its guidelines so strictly in this case and asked: "You can't put a number on how somebody can abuse a player on the pitch. How can somebody put a number on it?

"They shouldn't have said that. It doesn't matter if it is just was one person or 100 people in a stand, it doesn't matter, they shouldn't be doing racist chants full stop."

"Football is a global sport and I said to the FIGC president 'this is not helping the image of Italian football whatsoever'.

"My mother in England phoned me up and said 'what's going on over there?'"

"This shows how racism is more profound than everybody thought, even though we have been doing a lot of educational work. It shows they have got a lot of work still to do."

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