AC Milan vs Udinese game suspended following racist ‘monkey’ chants directed at GK Mike Maignan

Italian football, for all its heritage and class, has an uglier side to it too. It has an unwanted yet a consistent history of racially abusing some of its biggest stars. Mario Balotelli during his time in Italy faced racist insults and chants from the crowds. More recently, back in 2023, when Victor Osimhen was bizarrely subjected to racist abuse and mockery, by the members of his own club SSC Napoli, it was hoped that it would be the last such incident in Italian football.

Regrettably, AC Milan’s 3-2 victory over Udinese was marred by yet another deplorable racist incident. Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, subjected to racial abuse by Udinese fans, walked off the pitch with his teammates, leading to a brief suspension of the game.

AC Milan vs Udinese game get suspended

AC Milan’s game versus Udinese was briefly suspended for about 10 minutes on Saturday after alleged racist chants were directed towards Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan. The incident occurred near the half-hour mark, shortly after Ruben-Loftus Cheek put the visitors in the lead. Initially Maignan had ignored the chants but when the chants were repeated, Maignan reported it to the Milan bench and then to the referee as he asked him, “Did you hear that too?”

Mike Maignan
Maignan in conversation with the referee over racist chants via Getty

And in the moments that followed, Maignan and his teammates, subsequently walked off the pitch and headed for the tunnel, and the game was suspended until referee Federico Maresca assured him to come back, and some normalcy was restored following a plea from the club announcer.

The incident has garnered the condemnation of the wider footballing world as stars like Kylian Mbappe and Ian Wright expressing solidarity with Mike Maignan on social media. AC Milan, their rivals Inter Milan, and the Serie A league have also condemned the incident and stand in support of Maignan.

Mike Maignan talks on racist chants during clash vs Udinese

Following the incident, Mike Maignan came out and spoke about it. “I said we cannot play football like this. It is not the first time it has happened this way. They must hand out very strong sanctions, because talking no longer does anything. We have to say that what they are doing is wrong.”

“It is not the whole crowd. Most fans want to cheer on their team and jeer you. That’s normal, but not this.“, Maignan told Sky Sports Italy.

He went on and further that he ignored the chants first time out but when the Udinese fans kept on repeating it, he went to talk to the fourth official.

“The second time I went to get the ball, I heard it again. I told the fourth official and my bench what happened. I was angry, because this isn’t the first time it has happened. I did not want to play, but we are a family, and I could not leave my team-mates like that.”, said the 28-year-old French international.

Milan and Mike Maignan conceded shortly after the restart, as Samardzic equalized for Udinese before Florian Thauvin put them in front. But Milan managed to turn it around with late goals from Luka Jovic and Okafor.

What are your thoughts and feelings on the abuse of racism in the footballing world? Let us know in the comment section below.

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