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PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 08: Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, speaks during the 48th UEFA Ordinary Congress Meeting at Maison De La Mutualite on February 08, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kristy Sparow - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Soccer

FIFA chief Infantino urges UEFA nations to help step up FIFA racism fight

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged European football to help create a new and more powerful anti-racism proposal for the world governing body’s congress in Bangkok in May.

Infantino was addressing the annual congress of European federation UEFA in Paris.

He had flown in from the United States where FIFA unveiled at the weekend the match schedule for 2026 World Cup finals in Canada, Mexico and the US.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST RACISM

Infantino told delegates from all 55 national associations that football’s ongoing campaign against racism had been partly undermined by the differing approaches and attitudes of varied governing bodies. This could not continue.

Infantino said: “We live in a divided world. We say football unites but our world is aggressive and in the last few weeks and months we have witnessed a lot of racist incidents. This is no acceptable.

“We have to stop this and do whatever we can to stop this. Racism is a crime, something terrible.

“We have to eradicate that. We have some tools in place such as the three-step procedure but we have different competition organisers, different rules and what we do is obviously not enough.”

RACIST ABUSE IN ITALY

Last month Milan’s players walked off the pitch during an Italian Serie A match away to Udinese in protest at the racist abuse of goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Infantino had responded at the time by demanding competition punishments for clubs whose fans had been proven guilty.

He reiterated this stance in Paris, telling UEFA Congress: “Disciplinary consequences have to be a forfeit against the team responsible for the forfeiture of the game. We have to start criminal charges against those who have acted in a criminal way. We have to ban them from stadia worldwide. We have to invest in education because racism is also a problem of society.”

WORK TOGETHER

Infantino concluded: “What I suggest is that we work altogether in the three months before FIFA Congress in Bangkok and come all together with a strong resolution for the fight against racism. Let’s stop racism now, in a united way.”

He then took to the air again, to attend the finals of the Asian and African regional championships in Qatar and Ivory Coast respectively.

Credit: AIPS Media

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