ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has stepped into the fall-out from the racism storm which erupted during England’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bulgaria in Sofia on Monday writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Infantino, general secretary of European federation UEFA before being elected to lead the world governing body, demanded that Zurich should be informed “as soon as practicable” about UEFA’s disciplinary conclusions so that any sanctions could be extended worldwide.
Quite how that would work, given that Bulgaria is a European nation and the stage was a European Championship qualifying tie, was not made clear.
Infantino echoed the comments of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is deploring racist behaviour while acknowledging the ongoing problem and the need for coordination with society in general.
He said: “So many times we say there is no place for racism in football, but nonetheless we still face challenges to tackle this problem in our sport, as we do in society. We will need the support of public authorities to help us identify and punish the culprits but we probably also need to think more broadly on what we can do to fix this.
“When we proposed the three step procedure in 2009 when I was at UEFA, and then made the Regulations even tougher a few years later, we could not have imagined that so shortly thereafter we would again be having to think of how to combat this obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world.”
He concluded: “I call on all football governing bodies to join us and think together of new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football.
“As a starting point, I suggest that all competition organizers enact regulations which envisage life bans from stadiums for those who are found guilty of racist behaviour at a football match. FIFA can then enforce such bans at a worldwide level.”