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Italian body says only a special public order officer can suspend matches in cases of racism

  • b31b26ccbdd5dc00250f6a7067008222.jpg

    AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng, of Ghana, sports a jersey reading "AC Milan against racism" prior to the start of the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Siena at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. A friendly match between AC Milan and lower division club Pro Patria was abandoned last Thursday after racist chants directed at Milan's black players, the latest incident of racial abuse that continues to blight the sport. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (The Associated Press)

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    From left, AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng, Massimo Ambrosini, Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Nocerino sport jerseys reading "AC Milan against racism" as they warm up prior to the start of the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Siena at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. A friendly match between AC Milan and lower division club Pro Patria was abandoned last Thursday after racist chants directed at Milan's black players, the latest incident of racial abuse that continues to blight the sport. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (The Associated Press)

Italy's watchdog body for sports events says only a special public order officer will have the power to suspend matches in cases of racism, intolerance or anti-Semitism.

The announcement comes after racist chants prompted AC Milan players to walk off the field during an exhibition game last week with fourth-division club Pro Patria.

The watchdog body is presided over by Italy's police chief and Italy's soccer federation.

The group says referees need to contact the public order officer through the fourth official. The officer can then decide whether to suspend the match temporarily and warn fans on the public address system or suspend the game definitively.

Earlier Wednesday, a preliminary judge barred six Pro Patria fans accused of inciting racism from all sports events in Italy for five years.