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  • Milan’s 3-2 victory marred by abuse that forced a pause at Udinese on Saturday 
  • Supporter was also banned from every stadium in Italy for five years by police 
  • What on earth is going on at Newcastle?! Uncertainty over Joelinton and Callum Wilson, while Kieran Trippier leaving will be a slap in the face – It’s All Kicking Off 

Udinese will have to play a home game behind closed doors after AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan was racially abused during Saturday’s match in Udine, an Italian football federation (FIGC) judge said on Tuesday.

An FIGC judge issued the order based on reports from the referee as well as the federal prosecutor’s office.

‘For an event of this magnitude and seriousness (…) the obligation to play a match behind closed doors (…) may be applied,’ the official statement said.

Maignan had alerted referee Fabio Maresca before leaving the pitch due to repeated racist abuse from the local fans. 

He was followed by his Milanese team mates – many of whom who hugged and kissed Maignan in support of his decision – down the tunnel before returning to the goal after a few minutes.

Udinese will play one home match behind closed doors after AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan was forced to leave the pitch due to suffering racist abuse from the stands… as club issues a life-time ban to a fan for ‘discriminatory behaviour’

Udinese will play one home match behind closed doors following a ruling by the Italian FA

Mike Maignan was subject to racist abuse from the stands during Saturday's clash in Udine

Mike Maignan was subject to racist abuse from the stands during Saturday’s clash in Udine

The AC Milan goalkeeper consulted referee Fabio Maresca before walking off the pitch with his team-mates for several minutes

The AC Milan goalkeeper consulted referee Fabio Maresca before walking off the pitch with his team-mates for several minutes

The France international gave his own emotional statement on social media after the match, and told fans that were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it that they were ‘accomplices’.

He also suggested that a lack of punishment would make accomplices of the authorities, while thanking his team-mates for standing with him and joining him as he left the field of play.

A first punishment has already been handed out on Monday, with a supporter receiving a life-time ban for their actions, with Udinese chief Franco Collavino confirming the Italian side would make a concerted effort to ‘find those responsible’.

‘We are working to find those responsible, there may only be two or three people,’ he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

‘There were no chants, nothing perceived either by the referee or by the prosecutor’s office. There were one, two, three unfortunates, and this is enough for it to be a very serious thing.

‘We have already started looking at the images from the stadium cameras, we also need to listen to the audio. At the Blueenergy Stadium, inside and outside, there are over 300 cameras, there is a lot of work to do in a very short time.

‘A Daspo (Italian banning order) has a limited duration, but the club can decide to ban a fan from the stadium for a longer period of time. We will work to ban them from the stadium forever, for life.’

The 46-year-old supporter – believed to be a known criminal in the province of Udine – was banned from every football stadium in Italy for the next five years following a police investigation.  

Udinese also condemned all forms of discrimination and said they would cooperate with the authorities in the investigation into the incident.

Milan won the clash on the road 3-2 after play resumed but Maignan was keen to share his thoughts after the final whistle

Milan won the clash on the road 3-2 after play resumed but Maignan was keen to share his thoughts after the final whistle

Udinese general director Franco Collavino assured the public that the club was keen to cooperate with the authorities

Udinese general director Franco Collavino assured the public that the club was keen to cooperate with the authorities

After the final whistle on Saturday’s 3-2 victory to the visitors, Maignan stressed that it was impossible to continue playing under conditions of racist abuse from the stands. 

‘We can’t play football like this,’ Maignan said after the match. ‘At the first goal kick I heard monkey chants and I didn’t say anything’.

‘Second goal kick, they did it again so I called the bench and fourth referee. There needs to be very harsh sanctions. Just talking does nothing’.

Udinese’s next scheduled home match is against Monza on February 3. 



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