The AC Milan midfielder walked off the field after fans of the opposing team, Pro Patria, racially abused him and some of his teammates during an exhibtion game in Italy on Thursday. Other Milan players followed Boateng’s lead, and the game was abandoned.
Incidents of racial abuse have blighted the world’s game for decades, and calls for soccer’s governing bodies to step in and eradicate it are growing louder.
The question of how players should respond to incidents of racial abuse has divided opinion. Some say they should ignore it and play one, while others have called for games to be stopped. In 2006, Samuel Eto’o was racially abused by fans of Spanish club Real Zaragoza. The Cameroonian striker wanted to leave the field, but his FC Barcelona coaches and teammates convinced him not to.
Boateng’s is thought to be the first incident of racial abuse which lead to the abandonment of a game (one involving top-level players). Leading figures in the soccer and beyond have applauded the 25-year-old’s actions and called on authorities to follow suit.
Some of their reactions appear below.