Ex-Tottenham striker Garth Crooks says “every self-respecting black player” in the Italian league should strike this weekend unless Sulley Muntari’s one-match suspension is withdrawn.
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.
Italy’s football chiefs were branded “gutless” by anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out.
“Those with power in Italy need to take action to stop this happening again,” Kick It Out tweeted.
In a fuller statement on its website the organisation added: “Garth Crooks, an independent Kick It Out trustee, is calling for every self-respecting black player in the Italian League to not play this weekend unless the Italian authorities withdraw the ban on Sulley Muntari.
“It’s unbelievable that Cagliari escaped punishment as ‘only 10′ fans were involved. This situation should never be allowed to happen again.”
Ex-Ghana international Muntari was cautioned for dissent after asking the referee to stop the match, and then walked off in protest – which earned him a second yellow card for leaving the field of play without permission.
The Serie A disciplinary committee which issued Muntari’s ban agreed that the fans’ actions were “deplorable” but said its guidelines meant it could not impose sanctions as only “approximately 10” supporters were involved – fewer than 1% of the Cagliari supporters in the ground.
World players’ union Fifpro believes Crooks’ call may be difficult to implement but agrees action is needed.
Spokesperson Andrew Orsatti told BBC World Service that the committee’s decision was “appalling, outrageous and poorly managed”.
He added: “The message had to be about racism and stamping it out and sending a clear message that Muntari’s cry for help was heard. But they failed on both counts, the Italian authorities, and the mind boggles as to how that occurred.”