“The sports judge decided to sanction Udinese with a match behind closed doors. » The disciplinary committee of the Italian Football League announced, Tuesday January 23, the sanction addressed to the club, following the racist insults uttered by some of its supporters against AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan on Saturday.

In its press release, Serie A recalls that these facts had led “to two announcements over the loudspeaker in the stadium as well as to a first interruption of approximately one minute, then to a suspension of approximately five minutes” of the match.

Mike Maignan, a 28-year-old French international, was the target of monkey cries and insults from people seated in the stand behind his goal, during the first period of the match counting for the 21st day of the transalpine championship.

The goalkeeper first warned the referee, before leaving the field in the 34th minute, imitated by his teammates. The game was interrupted before resuming after a five-minute stoppage and ending in a 3-2 victory for the Lombards. On Monday, Udinese announced that one of the spectators had been identified and banned for life from its stadium.

Send a strong message

The affair caused a stir and a wave of support for Mike Maignan in the world of football and beyond, not only in Italy and France. The player, who had already been the victim of racism twice since his arrival in Serie A in 2021, had urged “an entire system [to] take its responsibilities”. “The authorities and the prosecutor, with everything that is happening, if you do nothing, YOU WILL ALSO BE COMPLICOUS,” he wrote on his social networks.

In its press release, the disciplinary committee notes that “during and after the events, and despite the two announcements made to the public over the loudspeaker, there were no clear demonstrations of disassociation from other supporters. of such intolerable behavior.” She also took into account “the active behavior of Udinese and the desire shown from the start to collaborate in the identification of those responsible [for these insults]”.

This is, the commission clarified, “the minimum sanction for an event of such magnitude and seriousness” provided for by article 28 of the sports justice code of the Italian Football Federation. The scale of penalties provided for by article 8 of this same code ranged from a warning to exclusion from the championship, including a fine and the closure of one or more stands for one match or more.

If we compare to the sanctions it has recently imposed for similar acts, the disciplinary committee seems to have wanted to send a strong message. The previous week, it had punished Lazio Rome with the closure of several stands at the Stadio Olimpico for a match following monkey cries targeting Roma’s Belgian center forward Romelu Lukaku in the Italian Cup. The club has since appealed.