FIFPro – and the whole football family – is pleased that Sulley Muntari’s one-match ban has been rescinded on appeal by the Italian football federation.
The World Players’ Union believes Muntari was badly let down when he received two yellow cards after he unsuccessfully sought help from the referee over racist abuse while playing for Pescara in Cagliari, Italy, last weekend.
In comments to FIFPro, and in a statement sent directly to Zapsportz, the Ghanaian player said he is relieved that his ban has been overturned.
“I feel that someone has finally listened and heard me,” Muntari said. “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.”
FIFPro is surprised that Muntari’s club, Pescara, did not lodge an appeal to overturn the sanction.
It took a last-minute appeal by the Ghanaian himself, assisted by the Italian players union, Associazione Italiana Calciatori (AIC), to have the ban rescinded.
Officials from FIFPro and the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana, spearheaded by Anthony Baffoe, have been offering support to Muntari in recent days.
Muntari said he is also grateful to AIC President Damiano Tommasi. “Many people and organisations such as FIFPro and the UN supported me and I would like to thank everyone who assisted me.”