Milan keeper Maignan calls for stronger action after suffering racist abuse

AP , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan says too many people are “complicit” in allowing racism to continue blighting soccer, and urged authorities to take stronger action after he suffered racist abuse on Saturday night.

AC Milan s French goalkeeper #16 Mike Maignan warms up before the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and AS Roma at San Siro Stadium, in Milan on January 14, 2024. AFP

Maignan, who is Black, walked off after being abused by Udinese fans during a top-tier Italian league game, prompting the match to be suspended briefly during the first half. Maignan later told DAZN that he had been subjected to monkey noises.

On Sunday, he delivered a strongly-worded response.

“It’s not the player who was attacked. It’s the man, it’s the father. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me and I’m not the first person it’s happened to,” Maignan wrote in French on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We’ve had statements, publicity campaigns, protocols and nothing has changed. Today it’s a whole system that must take responsibility.”

Maignan said there still isn’t enough being done to eradicate racial abuse.

“The authorities and the prosecutor, with everything that’s happening, if you don’t act then you will also be complicit,” he wrote.

The 28-year-old Maignan, who is France’s No. 1 goalie, said that those who witnessed the racist incidents should have called out the perpetrators, and that Udinese should have acted more firmly at the time.

“The fans in the stands, who saw everything, who heard everything but decided to stay quiet, you are complicit,” Maignan continued on X. “The club Udinese, who spoke only of interrupting the game, as if nothing had happened, you are complicit.”

Maignan had also told the referee about monkey chants earlier during the match. After being stopped, the Serie A game resumed about five minutes later.

There have been numerous racist incidents in Italian and European soccer for years, with cases in Italy aimed at Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku among others.

Maignan’s France teammate Kylian Mbappé posted a message of support for Maignan.

“We are all with you,” Mbappé wrote on X. “Always the same problems and still no solution. Enough is enough.”

Maignan, whose brilliant performances helped Milan win the Serie A title in 2022, praised those who helped him to cope.

“I would like to say thanks once again to my club AC Milan, to my teammates, to the referee, to the Udinese players who sent me messages, who called me, who supported me privately and publicy,” Maignan said, before concluding. “It’s a difficult fight, which will take time and courage. But it’s a fight that we’ll win.”

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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