UDINE, Italy (AP) — Four more Udinese fans who racially abused AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan were identified and punished on Wednesday.
Police said three men and a woman were all given five-year bans — the maximum sentence available — from all sports events in Italy. Ranging in age from 32 to 45, they were identified from the stadium’s security camera footage.
Another fan had been identified and banned for life by Udinese on Monday and the club vowed to do the same for the other “evil people” amid calls for tougher sanctions from authorities. That fan had also received a five-year ban from police.
The Italian league’s disciplinary judge on Tuesday also ordered Udinese to play its next home game — against Monza — behind closed doors as punishment for the racism.
Maignan, who is Black, walked off the field during Saturday’s Serie A match at Udinese after being subjected to what he later said were monkey noises. The 28-year-old goalkeeper was joined by his teammates and the match was suspended for about five minutes before they returned, and Milan went on to win 3-2.
“It’s really sad to see things like what happened last Saturday continue to occur,” Milan teammate Yunus Musah said. “These actions must have consequences; something needs to be done. Our reaction on the field was right. It gave us the confidence that we are a united group, emerging from that evening stronger than before and with a victory.”
Maignan received widespread support from the soccer world and issued a statement on Sunday calling for authorities to take stronger action.
There have been numerous racist incidents in Italian and European soccer for years, with victims in Italy including Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku.
This month, Lazio was sanctioned with a one-match partial stadium closure for racist chants directed at Lukaku.