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Udinese to play one game without fans after racist abuse of Maignan

Udinese have been ordered to play a match behind closed doors after AC Milan and France goalkeeper Mike Maignan was subjected to racist abuse last weekend, the Italian league’s disciplinary committee announced Tuesday.

Maignan, 28, was abused during Milan’s 3-2 win at Udinese on Saturday, a game which was halted for five minutes in the first half after repeated offensive remarks from behind the goal he was defending.

Serie A said it had “decided to sanction Udinese with the obligation to play a match behind closed doors”.

On Monday, Udinese said they will ban a supporter for a life after identifying the first individual responsible.

“This person will face a lifetime ban from attending any Udinese Calcio matches,” the club said.

“This ban is effective immediately.”

Earlier on Monday, Italian media reported a 46-year-old man from near Udine in north-eastern Italy had been identified, and he is believed to be the same man in a video which circulated widely on social media.

In that video someone off camera can clearly be heard shouting the same racist insult at Maignan multiple times after Lazar Samardzic scored Udinese’s first-half equaliser, netted after play had resumed.

Maignan challenged Italy’s football authorities on Sunday by saying: “If you do nothing, you will also be complicit.”

Saturday was not the first time that Maignan has been racially abused by supporters in Italy after he was targeted by a Juventus fan in September 2021.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for worldwide stadium bans for fans and “automatic forfeits” for teams whose supporters hurl “abhorrent” abuse.

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