Boateng was "courageous" to walk off, says Blatter

ZURICH Mon Jan 7, 2013 6:52pm GMT

1 of 2. AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng reacts after missing a goal opportunity against Inter Milan during their Italian Serie A soccer match at San Siro stadium in Milan October 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

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ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter praised AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng on Monday for displaying courage when he walked off the pitch last week in protest at racial abuse.

However, the head of the world governing body said that such gestures were not a long-term solution to the problem.

"If a player walks off the pitch because he has been racially abused, just as AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng did, it is a strong and courageous signal, a way of saying it has gone too far," Blatter said at the Player of the Year ceremony.

"It is praiseworthy but it cannot be the solution in the long term, we have to find other solutions to get to the root of the problem, otherwise such stands will be made in isolation and will get lost.

"Football must not separate people."

Boateng, who played for Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, took his shirt off and walked off the pitch after being racially insulted in a friendly against a lower tier side.

The other Milan players followed him and the match was abandoned.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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