15 June 2023

‘Let’s stop the games’ – FIFA chief wants refs to halt action when racism occurs

15 June 2023

FIFA president Gianni Infantino insists a “zero tolerance” approach must be taken to racism and has called for referees at all levels to stop matches if incidents occur.

Infantino, who met Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior to discuss the problem after the Brazil international spoke out after being targeted this season, labelled the racists “criminals” and said football authorities had to “shoulder responsibility”.

Last month Real Madrid filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office claiming the racist abuse of Vinicius constituted a hate crime after the player was targeted during the LaLiga defeat at Valencia.

“It’s very important not just to talk about racism and discrimination, but to take action in a decisive and convincing manner – zero tolerance,” Infantino said after meeting Vinicius and the rest of the Brazil squad in Barcelona.

“There is no football if there is racism – so let’s stop the games.

“The referees have this opportunity in FIFA competitions as we have this process for stopping the game, and actions have to be taken at every level, at national level as well.

There is no football if there is racism - so let’s stop the games

“It’s a football-related problem and we mustn’t look for excuses like: ‘It’s society’s problem, therefore, it’s fine in football.’ In the world of football, we must act in a very forceful way.

“We want to identify racists in stadiums and across social media. They are criminals. They have to be banned from stadiums across the globe.

“The authorities need to take these people to court and we will say this to all of them. Racism is a crime.”

Infantino said FIFA would set up a task force, with Vinicius taking a prominent role, to make specific recommendations.

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