Sulley Muntari

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Infantino slams racist ‘idiots,’ to speak to victim Muntari

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MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) FIFA President Gianni Infantino has decried the “idiots” who directed monkey chants at Sulley Muntari and offered to speak to the Ghanaian soccer player who was initially banned for protesting against racism.

Muntari said he was treated like a “criminal” after being shown two yellow cards when he walked off the field during a Serie A game in response to the racial abuse. The Pescara midfielder was infuriated after unsuccessfully trying to get the referee to halt the April 30 game at Cagliari.

Muntari eventually persuaded the Italian federation to overturn the one-game ban, but Infantino is perturbed that the referee did not follow FIFA protocols. The world soccer leader issued a public reminder of the correct response to player complaints.

“The three step process (is) stop the game, make an announcement, stop the game a while, get the players out,” Infantino said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately idiots (are to blame). There are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them … continue to fight.

“It’s good to bring these things out when they happen. We have to work.”

Muntari questioned FIFA’s commitment to tackling racism, concerns Infantino wants to hear directly.

“Of course I will speak to (Carlo) Tavecchio,” Infantino said, referring to the Italian federation president who was banned for racism himself in 2014. “I will speak to Muntari as well … we will work together.”

Rob Harris is at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

Muntari to abuse victims: “You’re strong. Say what you want to say”

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Sulley Muntari walked off the field during Pescara’s Serie A match at Cagliari on May 1 after being racially abused by fans.

Muntari had told the officials about the abuse, and the referees did not react to his pleas. Eventually, he was shown a yellow card and he walked off the field. That gave him a second yellow.

[ PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough ]

His one-match ban for being sent off was rescinded by the Italian federation, and Muntari spoke to the BBC on Monday.

“The last week, I went through hell, was treated just like a criminal. My message to many abused, racially abused, any form of abuse, is you should not be scared to talk, you should speak up in order to set yourself free. You shouldn’t be scared of anybody because you’re strong so you should come out and say whatever you want to say. It’s you. No one will change. You have to make the change.”

Well and powerfully said.

The 32-year-old Ghanaian midfielder has also played for Portsmouth, Udinese, Inter Milan, Sunderland, AC Milan and Ittihad. He has 84 caps and 20 goals for Ghana.

Muntari’s ban rescinded by Italian federation

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Sulley Muntari won’t be suspended after walking off the pitch against Cagliari.

[ MORE: Messi’s four-game suspension lifted by FIFA ]

The Italian federation announced on Friday that the Pescara midfielder won’t have to serve his one-match ban for walking off the field in last week’s match.

The 32-year-old Ghanaian was shown two yellow cards against Cagliari, with the first coming after Muntari protested to the referee about receiving racial abuse from the stadium’s fans.

Muntari ultimately walked off the field as a statement against the alleged racist acts, earning him a second yellow card from the head official.

Pescara will host Crotone on Sunday.

Ghana World Cup roster announced

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Ghana has named its 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup, and coach Kwesi Appiah has put tournament debutantes on the list.

There are plenty of familiar faces, however. Fans of the USMNT, who were drawn alongside the Black Stars in Group G, remember Asamoah Gyan – and not with fondness. In 2010, the forward scored a goal in extra-time to knock the U.S. out of the World Cup. Others, of course, will remember him for failing to convert the penalty brought on by Luis Suárez’s fateful handball. Gyan is likely hoping that his third trip to the tournament will bring more joy.

Other players who helped get Ghana to the quarterfinals in 2010 include Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari, Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Essien. André Ayew went to the last Cup as well, but this is brother Jordan Ayew’s first tournament. Older brother Ibrahim Ayew stays behind.

As does defender Jerry Akaminko, who was stretchered off during the friendly with Netherlands on Saturday night. Leicester City defender Jeffrey Schlupp and striker David Accam also failed to make the cut.

Ghana 2014 World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Porto), Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Midfielders: Michael Essien (AC Milan), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Wakaso Mubarak (Rubin Kazan)

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux)

Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mata, Salah, Muntari and one last stop for Eto’o

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Samuel Eto’o scored a bunch of goals the other day in Chelsea’s rout of Manchester United, but the 32-year-old striker was talking about Spain just one day later. Eto’o, who scored 108 goals in 145 matches for Barcelona, is being encouraged by his son to return to one of his other former La Liga homes. Will Eto’o finish his career at Real Mallorca?

Gary Lineker has a way with words, and as rumors continue to swirl regarding Juan Mata’s potential move from Chelsea to Manchester United, the English pundit says the move adds plenty of optimism for attractive football from David Moyes struggling and injured side.

Modibo Maiga was a hot commodity before arriving at Upton Park, with Newcastle one of the teams “missing out” on the Malian with a decent strike record in France. With just three goals in 31 Premier League appearances for West Ham, Big Sam Allardyce is ready to move on from the disappointing transfer. Turkey’s the rumored destination.

AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is only 29 years old. Don’t know about you, but it kinda surprised us he wasn’t older. The former teen star with Udinese is being rumored as on the move to Hull City to join the Tigers. After picking up two striking threats in Nikita Jelavic and Shane Long, Steve Bruce is looking for more of an enforcer type.

The Yohan Cabaye story lingers in the Newcastle press and Magpies supporters are surely hoping the resolution waits for the summer. Newcastle’s dynamic midfielder has been mentioned for an exit for ages and this January’s mostly been PSG as the destination. As the Northeast club may have reached an agreement to ply Remy Cabella from Montpellier in the summer, Cabaye uses the phrase “Champions League” like its going out of style.

Montpellier is now said to want a Hatem Ben Arfa loan move through the end of the season in order to get Cabella immediately. NUFC supporters can hope he leads the Magpies into Europe, fulfilling both sides desires, and that director of football Joe Kinnear isn’t lying when he says, ” “I will not let any player leave Newcastle United in this transfer window.”

Speaking of Newcastle, they’ve entered the fray for Basel star Mohamed Salah according to Sky Sports. In December it seemed the “Egyptian Messi” was all but Liverpool’s, but as time moves on more teams are getting the Salah itch.

Julio Cesar isn’t seeing time for QPR (!!) as Rob Green has played well, and the 34-year-old is pretty much gone from Loftus Road, admits QPR chairman Tony Fernandes. The player casually mentioned Sardinia and Cagliari as options, as the 77-times capped Brazilian wants playing time before his homeland’s World Cup.