Mario Balotelli celebrated his Milan debut by scoring twice in a 2-1 win over Udinese last night

Debate: After Berlusconi Jnr used a racial slur to describe Mario Balotelli, is deducting points the best way to tackle racism in football?

Share
Related Topics

 

What's going on?

Mario Balotelli is at the centre of a racism storm in Italy, having just signed for AC Milan. The former Manchester City striker was described as "negretto di famiglia" - translated as "the family's little n****", by the Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi, younger brother of the club president and former Italian prime minister Silvio.

The remark follows a turbulent period for AC Milan, whose players walked off the pitch in a friendly match after midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was racially abused by sections of the crowd.

Many consider the current measures to tackle racism in football (mainly small financial penalties) unfit for purpose. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said recently the only solution was “to be very harsh with the sanctions – and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar."
 

Case for: Hit Hard

Consider this. In 2012 UEFA - European football's organising body - fined Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner £80,000 for wearing promotional boxer-shorts. In the same year they fined Porto not even a quarter of that sum for monkey chants (aimed at Balotelli). Two things: first, the disparity in punishment is sickening. Second, these fines are so piffling as to have no effect whatsoever. Football needs to respond in the strongest way possible to racism, and that means hitting teams where it hurts: their points tally. Leaving it to players to walk off the pitch shows an abject failure of leadership and puts the onus for change on those being abused, not those (mainly white men) who sit in power at the top of the game.

Case against: Fans not players

Racism in football is a problem, a massive one, but it stems primarily from supporters - not the players themselves (John Terry's case can be counted as an exception). Can you really sanction punishment to a team - who nine times out of ten won't be the guilty party - for the troglodyte behaviour of certain sections of their fans? And wouldn't such intervention encourage fans to try and get other teams deducted points through acts of sabotage? This intervention has sound principle behind it, but little practical sense. We should increase the fines, and look for other, more realistic options.

Deducting points is the best way to tackle racism in football

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments