HomeUdinese ordered to play behind closed doors after Maignan suffers racist abuse

Udinese ordered to play behind closed doors after Maignan suffers racist abuse

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Udinese will be forced to play one Serie A game behind closed doors after Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan was subjected to racist abuse at Bluenergy Stadium on Saturday.

Milan clinched their fourth straight league win on Saturday despite trailing Udinese 2-1 with seven minutes remaining, with Luka Jovic equalising before Noah Okafor hit a stoppage-time winner.

However, the game was overshadowed by racist abuse being directed at France goalkeeper Maignan during the first half, shortly after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had put Milan 1-0 up.

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Maignan alerted the referee to the abuse before leading his team-mates off the pitch just after the half-hour mark, with the game subsequently being restarted after a 10-minute delay.

Amid widespread outrage, Serie A’s sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea ordered Udinese to play one home league game behind closed doors on Tuesday. Their next outing at Bluenergy Stadium is against Monza on February 3.

One man suspected of abusing Maignan has been given a five-year ban from all football stadiums in Italy by the Udine Public Prosecutor’s office, with Udinese banning him for life.

Police said they would attempt to identify any other individuals who may have been involved by looking at CCTV footage.

Speaking to Sky Sports in Italy after the game, Maignan said: “I said we cannot play football like this. It is not the first time it has happened this way.

“They must hand out very strong sanctions, because talking no longer does anything.

“We have to say that what they are doing is wrong. It is not the whole crowd, most fans want to cheer on their team and jeer you. That’s normal, but not this.

“What happened in the first half is that at the first goal-kick I heard monkey noises, I said nothing. The second time I went to get the ball, I heard it again. I told the fourth official and my bench what happened.

“I was angry, because this isn’t the first time it has happened. I did not want to play, but we are a family and I could not leave my team-mates like that.”

Matchwinner Okafor, meanwhile, told DAZN: “These things have nothing to do with football and they hurt, there is no such thing as black or white. We are all the same.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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