Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Giovanni Favilli, has personally apologised to the Minister of Sports, Hon. Isaac Asiamah, over the racial abuse suffered by Ghanaian footballer, Sulley Ali Muntari, whilst playing for his Italian club, Pescara.
Muntari famously made the headlines across the world after walking off the pitch during a Serie A game between his club, Pescara, and Cagliari at the end of April after being booked by referee Daniele Minelli for reporting racial abuse by fans of Cagliari.
The referee booked him again and sent him off with the Italian FA backing the match official by also handing a one-match ban to the Ghanaian star.
A worldwide expression of outrage at the decision and support for Muntari forced the Italian FA to annul the ban but Muntari’s actions had already garnered widespread global sympathy and support.
Leading international bodies like the UN, FIFPro and the PFAG of Ghana all issued statements standing by the player.
Ambassador Favalli also came to the support of the 32-year-old Muntari publicly but according to the Deputy Minister of Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, the Italian chief in Ghana followed up by rendering an unqualified apology to the minister this week.
“We always stand by our players; we care for them that’s why we took the Sulley Muntari issue on very strongly. The sports ministry took up the case and did a lot of work underground to fight his case when he was banned for standing up to his rights,” Hon. Hadzide revealed on Accra-based radio station, Asempa FM on Thursday morning.
“That’s why the Italian Ambassador came to apologise to the minister for what happened to Muntari. When we met him yesterday he wasted no time in speaking about the issue and reiterated that racism must stop everywhere,” the deputy sports minister added.