FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for an automatic forfeit to be imposed on teams whose fans are found to have racially abused players. Two matches on Saturday came to temporary halts as players notified referees of racial abuse in the stands.
AC Milan’s stars walked off the pitch after goalkeeper Mike Maignan reported monkey noises coming from a section of the crowd during the club’s match against Udinese. Milan eventually returned to the pitch and secured a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
Meanwhile, Coventry midfielder Kasey Palmer alerted referee Anthony Backhouse to fans making monkey gestures. Home team Sheffield Wednesday confirmed a racist gesture had been made by a supporter.
FIFA currently has a three-step process when players report racist abuse. In the first instance, the match is stopped and should the abuse continue, it is re-stopped. A third incident sees the match abandoned.
Critics say this gives abusers three opportunities to offend before the match is entirely halted.
Infantino wants the rules to go further to impose an automatic forfeit on teams whose fans are found to have racially abused a player.
“As well as the three-step process (match stopped, match re-stopped, match abandoned), we have to implement an automatic forfeit for the team whose fans have committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists,” the FIFA chief said in a post on X.
“FIFA and football shows full solidarity to victims of racism and any form of discrimination. Once and for all: No to racism! No to any form of discrimination!
“The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable. The players affected by Saturday’s events have my undivided support.
“We need ALL the relevant stakeholders to take action, starting with education in schools so that future generations understand that this is not part of football or society.”
France international Maignan has urged for change after being subjected to racist chanting. “This shouldn’t exist in the world of football, but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence,” the 28-year-old said.
“With all the cameras present and sanctions for these things, something must be done to change things. We all have to react, we must do something because you can’t play like this.”
Palmer despondently admitted “it feels like things will never change” after Coventry defeated Sheffield Wednesday.