MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino has decried the ''idiots'' who directed monkey chants at Sulley Muntari and offered to speak to the Ghanaian soccer player who was initially banned for protesting against racism.
Muntari said he was treated like a ''criminal'' after being shown two yellow cards when he walked off the field during a Serie A game in response to the racial abuse. The Pescara midfielder was infuriated after unsuccessfully trying to get the referee to halt the April 30 game at Cagliari.
Muntari eventually persuaded the Italian federation to overturn the one-game ban, but Infantino is perturbed that the referee did not follow FIFA protocols. The world soccer leader issued a public reminder of the correct response to player complaints.
''The three step process (is) stop the game, make an announcement, stop the game a while, get the players out,'' Infantino said on Tuesday. ''Unfortunately idiots (are to blame). There are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them ... continue to fight.
''It's good to bring these things out when they happen. We have to work.''
Muntari questioned FIFA's commitment to tackling racism, concerns Infantino wants to hear directly.
''Of course I will speak to (Carlo) Tavecchio,'' Infantino said, referring to the Italian federation president who was banned for racism himself in 2014. ''I will speak to Muntari as well ... we will work together.''
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura indicated the Italian authorities could face action from the world body, without elaborating.
''What matters is that the disciplinary committee has to act and the sooner the better,'' Samoura said on the sidelines of FIFA meetings in Bahrain. ''I have my personal feelings on anybody that is treated like (Muntari) has been treated, on the pitch and off the pitch. ... I'm here to make sure that FIFA takes through the committee the appropriate action for any single discriminatory action.''