Football Racism: FIFA’s Infantino Calls for Automatic Forfeit of Games for Teams whose Fans are Racist

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The FIFA president proposed the move in a statement condemning the “totally abhorrent” incidents at Udinese and Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino on Sunday called for the implementation of worldwide stadium bans for fans and an “automatic forfeit” of games for teams whose supporters commit racist abuse.

It follows incidents at Udinese and Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, which Infantino described as “totally abhorrent”.

The FIFA head said Sunday that there was no place for discrimination of any kind in the sport or wider society. “The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” Infantino said in a statement.

“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.”

Fans aimed monkey chants at AC Milan and France goalkeeper Mike Maignan during Milan’s dramatic 3-2 win at Udinese, with the game temporarily halted.

The France team said in a strongly worded statement on X, formerly Twitter: “You have all our support Mike Maignan. The FFF [French Football Federation] totally condemns all racist acts.”

France captain Kylian Mbappe also offered his support to his international teammate, saying: “You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan, we are all with you.”

The Paris Saint-Germain star added: “Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough!!!!! NO TO RACISM.”

Coventry’s Kasey Palmer also said he received similar racist abuse at Hillsborough, calling it “abhorrent and wholly unacceptable”.

Infantino said there should be harsher punishments. “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,” he said.

“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.

“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!”

At Udinese, referee Fabio Maresca stopped play during the first half and a livid Maignan stormed down the tunnel with his teammates. The players eventually returned and Milan went on to win 3-2.

Maignan said something had to change as racist abuse has been part of football for too long.

“This shouldn’t exist in the world of football, but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence,” the 28-year-old told Milan TV after confirming he heard fans making monkey noises.

“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.”

Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright applauded the “solidarity” in the Milan side and urged teams to “keep walking off” when they hear abuse and called for stronger sanctions.

The incident involving Palmer happened during Coventry’s 2-1 Championship win over next-to-bottom Sheffield Wednesday. It led to the match being paused for several minutes as the referee spoke to both managers.

South Yorkshire police have launched an investigation and said they “will be working alongside the clubs and West Midlands Police to understand the circumstances and identify those involved”.

Sheffield Wednesday said they were “shocked and saddened by the racist gesture from the stands” reported by Palmer. They said anyone “found culpable” would face the “strictest possible sanctions”.

But Palmer said he was sceptical things would change in the game, also writing on X: “Racism is a disgrace... it has no place in the world, let alone football.

“I’m black and proud and I am raising my three kids to be the exact same. I’ll be honest, it feels like things will never change, no matter how hard we try.

“[A] couple [of] fans doing monkey chants don’t define a fanbase - I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.”