Milan and Boateng escape punishment over walk-off

Kevin-Prince Boateng

AC Milan have escaped punishment but have been told they were wrong to abandon a friendly after Kevin-Prince Boateng was subjected to racist chants.

Ghanaian midfielder Boateng was widely praised after stopping play at Italian fourth tier side Pro Patria, following the incident on 3 January.

The referee abandoned the match after 26 minutes.

Serie A's disciplinary commissioner ruled on Tuesday that his actions broke league rules but would not be punished.

"In the current regulations of football, no rule allows a team to stop a game and abandon the pitch without the agreement of the referee or public safety bodies," a Serie A statement read.

"However, the essential values of sport and civility exclude disciplinary action in a gesture of solidarity towards a victim of vulgar insults solely because of the colour of his skin."

Boateng, 25, has since said he would walk off the field again if subjected to racist abuse and Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi praised the player for his stance on racism.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter described Boateng's stance as courageous, but did not believe such gestures would provide a long-term solution to the problem.

An Italian government watchdog (ONMS) said last week that public security officials would be given the power to stop football matches in cases of racist behaviour.

A match could either be abandoned or temporarily stopped to warn supporters.

The director of public order services will have the "sole responsibility" to suspend a match after talks between the referee and the fourth official.