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Footballers back Boateng over walk off

TAKING A STAND: Boateng's actions have been largely welcomed

BOLD ACTION taken yesterday (January 3) by Kevin Prince Boateng could mark another turning point in football’s battle against racism.

Much like last autumn’s non-wearing Kick It Out T-shirt footballers, who provoked debate on meaningful action required to stamp out racist behaviour from the sport, Boateng’s decision to walk off the field of play because of racist chanting has placed further scrutiny on how best to deal with racism head on.

Since the 25-year-old turned his back on the match held at fourth-tier Italian side Pro Patria, causing it to be abandoned, many of the Ghanaian international’s peers have voiced their support for the midfielder.

“It was brave of Kevin Prince Boateng to do what he did… and it was the right thing”, wrote former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira on his Twitter account. “We need to stand up and stand together. Well done”, he added.

QPR winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who in his last match scored the winning goal that beat Chelsea, tweeted: “well done bro… #salute #StopRacismForever.”

Former Manchester United player, Paul Pogba, who now plays in Italy for Boateng’s rivals Juventus wrote on Twitter: “I agree with [Boateng]: Stop the racial slurs!!”

Rio Ferdinand condoned his actions too, writing on the social media website: “Fair play to him. Well done #UefaStandUp”

Premier League winning captain Vincent Kompany was another to get behind Boateng’s walk out. “Act of racism against Boateng during Milan's friendly. How about becoming extremely intolerant towards racist idiots? They need to be told”, he tweeted.

Also, Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin backed the German-born Boateng. “proud of you bro”, he tweeted.

However, Clarence Seedorf, an AC Milan legend, disagreed with what Boateng had done. “I don't see it as such a positive thing”, he said, “because [it] empowers more and more of this behaviour.

“They [racist fans] should just be identified and kicked out of the stadium. Leave the 90 percent that were enjoying the match and finish the game”, said the 36-year-old Dutchman, who now plays his football in Brazil for Botafogo.

“If Boateng was able to identify the whole corner, you just kick the whole corner out. That is how I think it should be handled.

“Walking away? Yes, you send a signal. But this has happened more than once and I don't think it really changes all that much. We are just empowering that little group with their behaviour to make this mess”, added the ex Milan midfielder who won two Champions League titles with the club.

In contrast, lawyer and Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) chairman Peter Herbert gave his complete approval for Boateng’s act. “The SBL gave unqualified support to Kevin-Prince Boateng,” he said.

“If black players received the support of white players and clubs this type of abuse would quickly end. It is hoped this lesson is applied throughout the European game.

“The Italian FA has a huge amount of work to do against such racist fans and needs to learn from the excellent example set by AC Milan and support black players,” Herbert added.

Boateng, himself, acknowledged the support he has received, writing on his Twitter account: "Thank u for the support and understanding... means a lot!!! #letsfightagainstit"

Had enough of racism in football? Back our campaign Enough is Enough - Get Onside. Sign the petition here

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