ZURICH: The Italian football authorities will face a demand from FIFA president Sepp Blatter on why they acted so swiftly and leniently over the weekend’s racial abuse incident in Rome.
The Serie A match between Roma and Milan in the Stadio Olimpico was halted briefly in the second half after a public address warning went unheeded when home fans insulted Milan’s Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Little more than 24 hours after the match Roma were fined €50,000.
Blatter, who has just created an anti-racism task force, made no secret of his displeasure with the sanction.
He said: “Small fines for racist abuse are unacceptable. What is surprising and is not understandable for me, is that the disciplinary committee of the Italian federation has taken a decision, not even 24 hours after the event, by just imposing a fine.
“They have not made any investigation of what happened and just to give a pecuniary sanction is not valid, that is not acceptable. You will always find money. What is 50,000 euros for such an incident? I’m not happy and I will call the Italian federation. That’s not a way to deal with such matters.”
Blatter’s words were echoed by Jeffery Webb, the CONCACAF president who heads the new FIFA anti-discrimination task force.
Webb said: “[This] decision to impose only a €50,000 fine . . . without further investigation, is completely unacceptable.
“This incident is a clear example of the issue the anti-racism and discrimination task force has at hand. It also reinforces the imperative responsibility FIFA, the confederations and each of its 209 member associations have in implementing strong resolutions to support football’s zero tolerance policy and strengthen FIFA’s fight against racism and discrimination.”