FIFA President Gianni Infantino has issued a compelling call for more severe penalties, including automatic forfeits, to be imposed on teams whose fans engage in racist abuse.
This strong stance comes in response to recent incidents that marred the world of football.
Over the weekend, Coventry City’s Kasey Palmer faced alleged racist gestures during their Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday.
Simultaneously, AC Milan’s players walked off the pitch in solidarity after goalkeeper Mike Maignan reported monkey noises from a section of Udinese supporters.
Infantino took to social media, now known as X, to express his firm belief in the necessity of harsher punishments for clubs whose fans exhibit racial abuse.
In an official statement on behalf of FIFA, he stated, “The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable.
There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination – both in football and in society.”
The statement emphasized the need for all relevant stakeholders to take action, starting with education in schools to eradicate racism from both football and society.
Infantino proposed a three-step process, including match stoppage, re-stoppage, and abandonment, coupled with automatic forfeits for teams whose fans are responsible for racism-induced match abandonment.
He also called for worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for individuals involved in such incidents.
Palmer reported the racist gestures to the referee during the game, leading to a temporary stoppage in play.
The player later expressed his disappointment on social media, condemning racism and emphasizing that such behavior has no place in football or the world.
Despite the distressing incident, Palmer appreciated the support he received, highlighting that the actions of a few fans do not define an entire fan base.
FIFA, under Infantino’s leadership, stands in full solidarity with the victims of racism and all forms of discrimination, reinforcing the message: “No to racism! No to any form of discrimination!” Infantino’s call for automatic forfeits aims to send a clear message that racism will not be tolerated in the world of football.