Muntari speaks out after winning ban appeal

The Ghana international says he hopes his case becomes the turning point in the fight against racism

Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari is delighted to have had his one-match suspension resulting from protesting a racist abuse in the Italian Serie A last weekend overturned.

After picking two yellow cards in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Cagliari, the Ghanaian was to serve a mandatory one-match ban this weekend.

However, an appeal by the 32-year-old, assisted by the Italian players union, Associazione Italiana Calciatori, had the ban rescinded on Friday.

“I feel that someone has finally listened and heard me,” Muntari told the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, FIFPro.

“The last few days have been very hard for me. I have felt angry and isolated.

“I was being treated like a criminal. How could I be punished when I was the victim of racism?

“I hope my case can help so that other footballers do not suffer like me.

“I hope it can be a turning point in Italy and show the world what it means to stand up for your rights.

"This is an important victory to send a message that there’s no place for racism in football, or society in general.”

The first of Muntari's bookings was for dissent after he complained of racist chants directed at him by Cagliari fans while the second was for walking off the pitch at Stadio Sant’Elia.

FIFPro had called for the bookings to be "rescinded", arguing that "Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution".

“Many people and organisations such as FIFPro and the UN supported me and I would like to thank everyone who assisted me," Muntari added.

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On Tuesday, a Disciplinary Commission upheld the ban, saying "the racist chants came from approximately 10 people, which was less than one per cent of about 2000 people who occupied the area of the stadium where the chants came from".

Muntari is now available for selection when Pescara host Crotone on Sunday