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AC Milan pair Kevin Constant and Nigel de Jong subjected to racist abuse

updated 9:48 AM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
AC Milan defender Kevin Constant is enraged after a banana is thrown onto the pitch during his side's 2-1 defeat at Atalanta. AC Milan defender Kevin Constant is enraged after a banana is thrown onto the pitch during his side's 2-1 defeat at Atalanta.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AC Milan duo subjected to racist abuse during Milan's game at Atalanta
  • Kevin Constant and Nigel de Jong angered by banana throwing
  • AC Milan players sarcastically applauded Atalanta fans
  • Italian Football Association set to examine incident

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(CNN) -- The incidence of soccer supporters hurling bananas as a way of racially abusing top black footballers playing in Europe's major leagues shows no sign of abating.

AC Milan defender Kevin Constant and midfielder Nigel de Jong were left raging by the abuse during a Serie A match against Atalanta in northern Italy Sunday, while fellow teammates applauded in a sarcastic manner.

Neither Milan or Atalanta were immediately available for comment, while Liga Calcio, which runs Serie A, is expected to make a statement later on Monday.

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The FIGC, the Italian Football Federation, have opened an investigation and will issue a statement later this week.

Sunday's incident came just two weeks after Barcelona's Dani Alves captured the world's attention by eating a banana which had been thrown at him from the crowd during a league game at Villarreal in Spain's top league.

The Brazilian's quick thinking was widely acclaimed by anti-racism campaigners and he gained worldwide support through social media.

The fan was banned for life by Villarreal after throwing the banana which landed at Alves' feet as he prepared to take a corner.

One week after Alves was abused, Levante's Senegalese player Papakouli Diop claimed he had heard monkey chants from Atletico Madrid supporters.

His response was to dance in front of his alleged abusers.

It's not the first team Constant has been racially taunted. The French-born Guinean player was racially abused during a preseason friendly game against Sassuolo in July.

Constant smashed the ball into the stands and walked off the pitch after becoming enraged by racist chanting emanating from a section of supporters.

In January 2013, Constant's teammate Kevin Prince Boateng walked off the field of play after being racially abused by a number of fans during a friendly game against Pro Patria with six people hit with two-month prison sentences.

In the past the FIGC has been accused of not taking a tough enough stance against racism.

In May 2013, the organization was heavily criticized by FIFA president Sepp Blatter after it fined Roma $65,000 following the racial abuse of Milan's Mario Balotelli by the club's fans.

"What is $65,000 for such an incident? I'm not happy and I will call the Italian Federation," Blatter told the world governing body's website at the time. "That's not a way to deal with such matters."

In April 2013, Inter Milan were fined nearly $60,000 by European governing body UEFA after its fans were found guilty of "improper conduct" in chants directed towards Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

Two months earlier, Lazio received its fourth charge of racist behavior this season -- with Roma's city rivals having been fined nearly $300,000 after repeated fan transgressions.

In May last year, FIFA adopted tougher penalties for racist behavior during its congress in Mauritius.

Punishments for first offenses bring a warning, fine or clubs being forced to play games in empty stadiums. A second offense, or one deemed "serious," could result in demotion, a deduction of points or expulsion from a tournament.

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