Following racist events in Italy and England on Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for global stadium bans for fans and “automatic forfeits” for teams whose supporters hurl “abhorrent” insults.
The chairman of the international governing organisation said that there is no room for prejudice in football or society as a whole.
“The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” the prime minister stated in a statement.
“The players affected by Saturday’s events have my undivided support.”
During Milan’s thrilling 3-2 victory against Udinese, fans chanted “monkey” at the team and France custodian Mike Maignan.
Coventry player Kasey Palmer accused Sheffield Wednesday supporters of doing the same to him during their English Championship match, which his side won 2-1.
“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,” Infantino said in a statement.
“In addition to the three-step procedure (match stopped, match re-stopped, match abandoned), we must impose an immediate forfeit for the side whose supporters committed bigotry and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as international stadium bans and criminal prosecution against racists.
“FIFA and football express complete sympathy with victims of racism and other forms of prejudice. Once and for all, say no to racism! “No to all forms of discrimination!”
At Udinese, referee Fabio Maresca halted play in the first half, and a furious Maignan rushed down the tunnel with his teammates.
“They are uneducated people…. “You can expect to be booed or whistled when you’re away from home, but what happened today has no place in football,” Maignan told Sky Sports.
Play resumed after around five minutes.
Italy, ruled by a government headed by the far-right Brothers of Italy party, is riddled with fascist football fan clubs, particularly among the hardcore “ultras” who dominate stadium atmospheres.
Last week, Lazio’s stand was closed for one match after fans chanted monkeys at Romelu Lukaku during their team’s Italian Cup victory against local rivals Roma.
Palmer described the abuse as “abhorrent and wholly unacceptable” in Sheffield, and the play was halted as the referee dealt with both managers on the touchline.
Sheffield Wednesday announced in a statement that they were “shocked and saddened by the racist gesture from the stands reported by Sky Blues player Kasey Palmer”.
“Both clubs roundly condemn any form of discrimination and abuse, and underline that there is no place for this kind of behaviour in football or our wider society,” the statement went on to say.
“We will work together with the relevant authorities and anyone proven to be culpable will face the strictest possible sanctions from both Sheffield Wednesday and the law.”