Milan at centre of fresh racism storm

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AC Milan's Kevin Constant has sparked a new racism debate in Italy after walking off the pitch in a friendly following racist abuse.

The incident occurred during a match in the Trofeo TIM tournament, played annually by three Italian teams and held in Reggio Emilia in northern Italy. AC were playing new Serie A team Sassuolo - who won the tournament which also featured Juventus - when Constant left the field in the 34th minute.

He kicked a ball into the stands as he departed and, after a tannoy announcement to fans, was allowed to be replaced by a substitute.

This isn't the first time that Milan have been caught up in a situation like this. Kevin Prince-Boateng walked off the pitch in a match against Pro Patria in January, with his Milan teammates following him off.

 Prince-Boateng's actions were praised by many, including AC Milan director Umberto Gandini, who tweeted:

"Very proud of the Milan players who decided to walk off the pitch today for racist abuse from few idiots! No racism, no stupidity!"

Former Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf disagreed, however. He argued:

"I don't see it as such a positive thing because [it] empowers more and more of this behaviour."

More recently, an AC Milan and Roma match was called off temporarily in May after abuse was directed at Mario Balotelli in the Italian capital. New rules introduced after January's incident mean referees can now halt or even abandon play if racist chanting persists.

Constant's Milan teammates finished the match on this occasion, going on to lose 2-1 to the Sassuolo side. An investigation will be carried out by the Italian football federation.


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