Blatter: Boateng wrong to ‘run away’ from racists
FIFA president Sepp Blatter does not believe AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng’s decision to walk off the pitch during a friendly this week was the right response to racist abuse and warned clubs they risk forfeiting matches if there is any repeat.
According to PA Sport, former Portsmouth and Tottenham player Boateng led his team-mates off the pitch during a match at Pro Patria after being subjected to racist chanting from a section of the home fans, with the former Ghana international insisting he would walk off again in any competitive match under similar circumstances.
Speaking at a conference in the Middle East, Blatter said football must take a “zero tolerance” approach to racism but suggested that clubs should have to forfeit matches if their players force the abandonment of a match, whatever the reason.
Quoted in United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, he said: “Walk off? No. I don’t think that is the solution.
“But the Italian federation has yet to provide FIFA with a report detailing what exactly has happened.
“I don’t think you can run away, because then the team should have to forfeit the match. This issue is a very touchy subject, but I repeat there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium, we have to go against that.
“The only solution is to be very harsh with the sanctions (against racism) – and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar.”
He added: “We have to have no tolerance to racism, absolutely no tolerance.
“This action is an example that the spectators must behave well because, as I understand it, the player ran away and the others went with him. (The spectators) cannot go on abusing afterwards.”
In an interview with CNN broadcast on Friday, Boateng expressed his frustration with a perceived lack of support from world football’s governing body. He said: “So many people in FIFA can do something and they should wake up and do it. They should not tolerate it. They should ban people forever from the stadiums. That’s the first thing you can do.”