Muntari had angrily confronted Cagliari fans, shouting: “This is my colour” before the 32-year-old former Ghana international walked off the pitch in protest – for which he received a second yellow card.
Not enough fans took part in the abuse to take action
The Serie A disciplinary committee agreed that the actions of the fans involved were “deplorable” but said its guidelines meant it could not impose sanctions as only “approximately 10” supporters were involved – fewer than 1% of the Cagliari supporters in the ground.
Muntari’s club Pescara supported him in a statement saying that they stand against racism “whether it is done by one or 100 people”.
Muntari, a highly experienced player, was playing for AC Milan when then team-mate Kevin-Prince Boating walked off the pitch because of racist chanting during a friendly with lower-league side Pro Patria in January 2013.
Support from Boateng and UN
Boateng has since tweeted his support to Muntari, saying he is “so proud” of his former team-mate.
On Monday the United Nations’ top human rights official hailed Muntari as an “inspiration”. Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Muntari was “an inspiration to all of us here at the U.N. human rights office” for taking a stand.
Before the decision of the Commission was announced world football players’ union FIFPro had called for Muntari’s punishment to be rescinded, “Muntari was well within his rights to approach the referee,” said a Fifpro statement.
Former Ghana captain and FIFA and African Football Confederation (CAF) match commissioner Anthony Baffoe used twitter to express his dismay at the prevalence of racism in football following the incident.
Meanwhile the Serie A committee warned Lazio and Inter Milan faced partial stadium closures if there was a repeat of recent racist behaviour shown by their fans. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly suffered abuse from Inter fans while Lazio supporters targeted Roma defender Antonio Ruediger, one of the most highly regarded players in Europe.