Saturday's Serie A match between AC Milan and Udinese was briefly suspended in the first half after AC Milan players walked off the field following racist chanting directed at goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
As Milan was up 1-0 after 33 minutes and about to take a goal kick, Maignan, who is Black, walked toward referee Fabio Maresca and then to the sideline followed by his teammates. After briefly waiting near the sideline, the goalkeeper then took off his gloves and left the field to go down the tunnel toward the dressing rooms.
Mike Maignan and his AC Milan team-mates walked off the pitch briefly following abuse directed at the goalkeeper from the stands.
We all are with you, Mike! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ER2PnXs7pt
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) January 20, 2024
"There is absolutely no place in our game for racism: we are appalled. We are with you, Mike," wrote AC Milan's X account at halftime.
LEGA SERIE A CONDEMNS ANY FORM OF RACISM. pic.twitter.com/4udWfYODfW
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) January 20, 2024
According to Sky Sports, Maignan had informed the referee about alleged monkey chants earlier in the game, causing the the announcer at Bluenergy Stadium, Udinese's home field, to ask fans to stop.
“At the first time, I went to get the ball and I heard people call me ‘monkey’, but I didn’t say anything; then they did it again and I asked the bench for help, then I said that you can’t play football like that," Maignan told Sky Italia via Get Football. "This is not the first time this has happened to me. These are things that need to be said. They are ignorant people. The fan comes to the stadium to cheer, maybe to whistle, but these things in football shouldn’t happen.”
The match was restarted approximately 10 minutes after the stoppage with Maignan back in goal. Udinese supporters booed him for the rest of the game every time he touched the ball. Striker Noah Okafor scored in stoppage time to give AC Milan a 3-2 victory.
“No, I don’t want to meet anyone, I don’t want to talk to them," Maignan said when asked if he would be open to meeting the chanting [fans]. "They must have very strong sanctions, because talking is no longer of any use. They must stay at home and no longer come to the stadium. Football is beautiful because you come to the stadium, with your families, to have fun.”
This is not the first time Maignan, who has played in Italy since 2021 after nearly a decade in his home country of France, has been racially abused playing in Serie A. In September 2021, he was subjected to chants while playing against Juventus. Months later, Maignan and teammate Fikayo Tomori alleged racial abuse by supporters of Cagliari.
Kylian Mbappé offers support
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappé, who is Maignan's teammate with France's national team, took to social media on Saturday afternoon to post his support and call for a stop to racism.
Tu es très loin d’être seul Mike Maignan.
On est tous avec toi.
Toujours les mêmes problèmes et toujours AUCUNE solution.
Trop c’est trop !!!!!!!!!!!!
NON AU RACISME. ⛔️✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/uqlCLMr00x
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) January 20, 2024
"You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you. Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough !!!!!!!!!!!! NO TO RACISM."