LONDON: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has promised to instruct referees to be “brave” and stop matches where there is racial abuse from fans.
The head of the European football federation was addressing a UEFA Equal Game conference at Wembley hours before Juventus starlet Kean was subject to prolonged abuse during an Italian Serie A match against Cagliari in Sardinia.
Last month Chelsea’s teenaged England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi was the subject of abuse in games against Dynamo Kiev and Montenegro.
The referees took no action and made no move to enact the so-called three-step protocol.
Ceferin said: “The moment a match is stopped, or it’s not played, I think that 90 per cent of normal people in the stadium would kick the asses of those idiots. It’s 2019, it’s not 100 years ago.”
“We will speak to the referees again, and tell them to be confident, not to be afraid to act. This is a huge problem. Not just the Balkans, all eastern Europe. There’s not much immigration there because everybody wanted to go to western Europe because of economic reasons, jobs, a better life.
“So it takes some time. But of course you see Italy, one of the biggest problems with racism, sexism and homophobia. You have England, where you have problems.
“It’s a problem of intolerant people, not a problem of nations.”
Ceferin did not think UEFA’s punishments needed to be tougher.
He said: “I don’t see any tougher sanction than forbidding the fans, matches played in front of empty stadiums, which has happened in Croatia a few times, and the money sanctions.
“If it’s chronic, we could throw out a club team or a national team from a competition. Everything is possible. But that is a last resort.”