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FIFA: Criminal proceedings to combat racism

FIFA: Criminal proceedings to combat racism

Speaking at the UEFA Congress, Gianni Infantino sent a strong message to the various delegates on the issue of racism in stadiums. Faced with a rise in acts of racism, the FIFA boss believes that criminal prosecution is the solution to this scourge, which is undermining European soccer in particular.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has urged the world of soccer to take the next step in the fight against racism. Addressing delegates at the UEFA Congress in Paris, the FIFA President stressed that, despite a series of tough measures put in place to combat racism, it persisted, calling for more drastic measures to tackle what several soccer players described as a "canker destroying the game".

"It's no longer acceptable. We must put an end to it; we must do whatever it takes to put an end to it," declared Infantino, before adding: "Racism is a crime.Racism is a terrible thing. The problem is that there are different competition organizers, different competitions, different rules, and what we all do is obviously not enough. We need to prosecute people who have acted in a racist manner, we need to ban them from stadiums around the world, we need to invest in education because, obviously, racism is a societal problem, but it's not enough, it's not the answer."

Decisions expected at Bangkok Congress in May

Since taking over as head of FIFA in 2016, Gianni Infantino has introduced several reforms aimed at combating racism, and has in the past called for an automatic forfeit for teams whose supporters commit racist abuse."The tools we have are of course a three-stage process of the referee who can stop play, interrupt play and finally even abandon play, the disciplinary consequences will have to be a forfeit against the team that was responsible for abandoning play if a match has been abandoned," stressed the world soccer boss.

Gianni Infantino hopes that soccer's stakeholders will look in the same direction and implement reforms that will eradicate racism in soccer."I propose, in addition to all this, that we all work together in the next three months before the FIFA Congress in May, in Bangkok, and at the May Congress in Bangkok, we will all meet together with a strong resolution, united all together, the 211 countries of FIFA for the fight against racism. Let's stop racism, let's stop it now, let's do it all together, in unity", he said in his message. It remains to be seen whether the speeches will now be followed by action.

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