Infantino: Football needs zero-tolerance approach to racism

FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants football to adopt a "zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism" and give referees the power to abandon matches if players are subjected to racist abuse.

His statement comes following a host of high-profile incidents of apparent racism in recent weeks involving the likes of Raheem Sterling, Moise Kean and Kalidou Koulibaly.

On Friday, a Ligue 1 game between Amiens and Dijon was stopped for five minutes after Prince Gouano was allegedly subjected to racial abuse.  

Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose has also recently said that he "cannot wait to see the back of football" amid frustration with the lack of action taken in such instances.

In a statement published on the FIFA website, Infantino insisted the organisation is determined to eradicate racism from the sport and will continue to push initiatives designed to stamp it out.  

"In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football," he said.

"This is really not acceptable. Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.

"FIFA stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground. Racism needs to end. Full stop.  

"We introduced the so-called 'three-step procedure' at our tournaments: a mechanism that allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents. 

"FIFA urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt the same procedure, as well as a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism in football, and to apply harsh sanctions for any such kind of behaviour.

"We will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against racism and we guarantee to all our member associations that they have our full support in taking up this challenge.

"We will not hesitate to do everything in our power to eradicate racism, and any other form of discrimination, from football, at any level and anywhere in the world."

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