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Muntari treatment unacceptable but a one-off incident – Italian Ambassador

The Italian Ambassador to Ghana says the racial treatment meted out to Ghana’s midfielder Sulley Muntari should be “strongly condemned.”

According to Giovanni Favalli about 99 percent of Italians are against the treatment meted out to the former Udinese and AC Milan player.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Ghana Connect programme Friday, he said although the player is noted to be temperamental, he was well-behaved following the incident and did not exhibit any negative behavior.

“Italy is different and not a racist country as they have opened their doors to Ghanaian players than any country in the world.

“Italian football wouldn’t be what it is without Ghanaian players and we celebrate that,” Mr Favalli said.

Pescara’s Sulley Muntari was racially abused by Cagliari fans during a Serie A match on Sunday.

The midfielder walked off the pitch after he was racially abused by a child who was sitting with his parents.

He took his complaints to referee, Daniele Minelli, who initially ignored him before showing him a yellow card after which the disgusted player walked off the pitch, leaving his team with ten men for the final minutes of the match.

In a surprising turn of events, the Italian Football Association Disciplinary Commission claimed Muntari was wrong to have walked off and handed him a one-match ban.

This got the football world condemning the action of the Italian FA with the UN adding its voice to the unfortunate incident.

However, ambassador Favalli said while he strongly condemns what happened, it is only an isolated case and not a pervasive one which should affect the football relation between the two countries.

“It is an isolated incident that does not define the football relation between Ghana and Italy. What must be remembered is that after the U-17 tournament in Italy, seven Ghanaian players got the chance to start their careers there,” he observed.

He said currently, Italian football has the largest number of Ghanaian players and it has been so since 1991.

Mr Favalli noted that if Juventus wins this year’s Serie A league, Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah will be the most decorated Ghanaian footballer to have won six league cups with the Old Lady of Italian football.

He added that Ghanaian-born Mario Balotelli who single-handedly took the Italian national team to the finals of the 2012 Euros is very much loved despite being black.

According to him, Guiseppe Dossena who once coached the Black Stars was adored and loved by Ghanaians which cements the relationship between Ghana and Italian football.

He said considering the aforementioned, the recent incident is “less significant.”

Commenting on the issue after lots of criticism, the spokesperson of the Ghana Football Association Sani Daara explained that instead of coming out publicly, the FA officials first reached out to the victim.

“Since the event occurred the FA President spoke directly to Muntari and assuring him of our support and seeking his opinion on what we must do as football loving people in clamping down on racism,” he said.

Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Abubakar Ibrahim