Referee Maresca followed the anti-racism protocol vs. Udinese fans and played a ‘big brother’ role with Milan’s Maignan.
Previously, Maignan reported racist insults at the Bluenergy Stadium to Maresca and the fourth official, and they read a statement aloud in the arena.
On the second occasion, Maresca halted the game for five minutes, accompanied by a warning that any additional incidents would result in the abandonment of the match.
Understandably furious, Maignan walked off down the tunnel, removing his gloves with the intention of not continuing. However, he was persuaded to give it one more opportunity.
Fortunately, the Udinese fans exhibited proper behavior thereafter, allowing Milan to secure a 3-2 victory without further disruptions.
Maresca told Ansa: “I offered Maignan my support as a ‘big brother’ and was genuinely saddened by his emotional pain caused by the incident.
“I felt terrible hearing those boorish chants.”
Despite some beliefs that Maignan had angrily left the field, it was Maresca who suspended play.
“The rules are clear, the guidelines from the AIA (Italian Referees’ Association) and the designator Gianluca Rocchi leave no room for manoeuvre. I stuck to the protocol, as is my duty.”
Praiseworthy, Maresca actively addressed the situation, attempting to reassure Maignan that he acknowledged and was addressing his concerns.
“The player was very obviously emotionally upset, so I put a hand on his shoulder. He went to the fourth official to tell him the situation.
“The fourth official informed me and so I tried to reassure Maignan, on a human level as well as a referee. I told him whatever happens, talk to me, now I will get the statement read out.
“That is what happened, as is standard, then the abuse was repeated and we suspended the game.”