AC Milan football match delayed in Italy after alleged racist chants from crowd

By Joe McCurdy, CNN

CNN  —  AC Milan’s French goalkeeper Mike Maignan led his team off the pitch Saturday due to alleged racist chants directed toward him by opposing fans at Bluenergy Stadium in Udine, Italy.

The incident occurred during an Italian Serie A match against Udinese in the 33rd minute.

Talking to Sky Sports after the match, the 28-year-old Maignan, who is Black, said he heard “monkey noises” and chants from the crowd the moment he took the ball for his first goal kick, and again on the second goal kick.

“They’re ignorant people… You can be booed or whistled when you’re away from home, that’s normal, but what happened today has no place in football,” Maignan said.

Maignan informed the referee Fabio Maresca, who halted the game, as Maignan walked off the pitch and down the players’ tunnel.

UDINE, ITALY - JANUARY 20: Mike Maignan of AC Milan speaks with referee Fabio Maresca during the Serie A TIM match between Udinese Calcio and AC Milan at Dacia Arena on January 20, 2024 in Udine, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

His Milan teammates joined him.

The match resumed less than 10 minutes later, and Milan would win a dramatic encounter 3-2 in the final minutes.

After the match, Milan supported Maignan with a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, “There is absolutely no place in our game for racism: we are appalled. We are with you, Mike.”

“Lega Serie A condemns any form of racism,” the league posted on X.

Last week, fellow Serie A side Lazio was punished with a one-match stand closure after supporters directed racist chants at Romelu Lukaku during their team’s Italian Cup win over local rivals Roma.

Italian football authorities could announce a punishment against Udinese in the coming days, after an examination which would include reviewing the referee’s match report.

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