ROME (AP) — Italy's watchdog body for sports events has announced that 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 pitch during a friendly last week with fourth-division club Pro Patria.

The watchdog body, presided over by Italy's police chief and the Italian Football Federation, says referees need to contact the public order officer via the fourth official. The officer can then decide whether to suspend the match temporarily and warn fans via 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.

 

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