Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari will serve a one-match ban after Italian football authorities upheld the yellow cards he received when reporting alleged racist abuse during Sunday's match with Cagliari Calcio.
Muntari was initially booked for speaking to the crowd following the alleged abuse and, after receiving his first yellow card, he walked off the pitch in protest and was subsequently shown a second.
World footballers' union FIFPro had called for Muntari's yellow cards to be rescinded due to exceptional circumstances, but the suspension will now be upheld.
"We urge the Italian authorities to hear Muntari's version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged and take firm action to ensure this never happens again," read a statement from FIFPro.
"FIFPro believes Muntari's yellow card should be rescinded. Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution. Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.
"No player should ever feel the need to take matters into his own hands, as Muntari clearly felt obliged to do, by abandoning the match or taking spectators to task for inappropriate behaviour. Professional footballers should expect to be adequately protected by the relevant authorities in a place of work that does not tolerate discrimination of any kind."
Muntari will now miss Pescara's home match against Crotone on Sunday, whereas Cagliari will face no punishment from the Italian Sports Tribunal due to "only about 10 supporters" taking part in the alleged abuse.
The fans in question account for less than 1% of the stadium's occupants, which means that they did not reach the minimum number for the behaviour to be considered punishable by the Italian authorities.body check tags ::