Punish racist fans by stopping games, says Platini

By Paul Virgo
Sunday 08 December 2013 05:20
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Uefa wants matches to be halted if fans make racist chants, the European governing body's president, Michel Platini, said yesterday.

Juventus were ordered on Monday to play a game behind closed doors after fans racially abused the Internazionale striker Mario Balotelli during Saturday's 1-1 Serie A draw.

"We will call for play to be stopped for 10 minutes when these things happen and announcements to be made in the stadium," Platini told a news conference. "If it continues the match will be stopped. Courage is needed when there is racism in the stands. That's Uefa's mission."

Racist abuse is not uncommon in Italian football and small fines are usually handed out. However, the seriousness of Saturday's incidents prompted the authorities to come down heavily on Juventus.

"It is a difficult moment for the Italian soccer federation. It has taken its responsibility," added Platini, a former Juventus player.

The Italian federation president, Giancarlo Abete, told reporters that rules would be changed to allow games to be stopped for racist chanting.

"The Italian system already gives the authorities the power to suspend the game in the case of banners that incite racial discrimination," Abete said. "We'll reinforce this, naturally while staying attentive and finding a balance for the security requirements of the public."

Balotelli, who scored Inter's opener in the top-of-the-table match, was subjected to chants of "a black Italian does not exist" from sections of the crowd in Turin. The 18-year-old, an Italy Under-21 international, was born in Palermo but is of Ghanaian descent.

Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body Fifa, believes the support of British MPs for his plan to restrict the number of foreign players clubs are allowed to field, could prove important in his efforts to have the proposal agreed by the EU. In a report on the governance of English football, the all-party Parliamentary Football Group recommended Blatter's 6+5 rule be adopted. That would create a limit of five foreigners in any starting line-up, but opponents insist that would contravene European law.

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