Udinese, initially sanctioned with a match behind closed doors for the racist insults uttered against the French goalkeeper of AC Milan Mike Maignan, saw its sanction reduced on appeal, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Wednesday ). The Friuli club will now have to “play its next two home matches with one of the stands of its stadium, the Curva Nord, closed”, indicates the FIGC in its press release. “The first chamber of the National Court of Appeal for Sport, chaired by Carmine Volpe, partially ruled in favor of the appeal made by Udinese against the sanction of a match behind closed doors,” indicates the text, without justifying decision.
It was in the Curva Nord that the spectators who uttered racist insults and monkey cries towards Mike Maignan on January 20 during the Italian Championship match between Udinese and AC Milan were seated. The goalkeeper of the France team initially warned the referee of the match that he had been the target of racist insults. As the insults continued, he then left the field in the 34th minute, imitated by his teammates, thus forcing the referee to interrupt the match. The match resumed after a five-minute interruption and Maignan returned to his place in goal and finished the match won 3-2 by AC Milan.
The next day, Maignan urged the Italian football authorities and the justice system to take their responsibilities: “If you do nothing, you will also be complicit,” he wrote on his social networks. Udinese has since banned five perpetrators of these racist insults from its stadium for life. The club had justified its appeal against the initial sanction of a match behind closed doors by its desire to “protect (its) reputation as a club, which is historically multi-ethnic, and the efforts we have made to pursue the perpetrators of these acts” . On Monday, the city council of Udine renounced by qualified majority vote to award the title of honorary citizen of the city to Mike Maignan. The mayor of Udine made this proposal the day after the racist insults which had caused a lot of emotion in the world of football and beyond.