FIFA head calls racist fans ‘idiots’

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

FIFA Pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino has de­cried the “idiots” who di­rected mon­key chants at Sul­ley Mun­tari and of­fered to speak to the Ghana­ian soc­cer player who was ini­tially banned for protest­ing against racism.

Mun­tari said he was treated like a “crim­i­nal” af­ter be­ing shown two yel­low cards when he walked off the field dur­ing a Serie A game in re­sponse to the racial abuse. The Pescara mid­fielder was in­fu­ri­ated af­ter un­suc­cess­fully try­ing to get the ref­eree to halt the April 30 game at Cagliari.

Mun­tari even­tu­ally per­suaded the Italian fed­er­a­tion to over­turn the onegame ban, but In­fantino is per­turbed that the ref­eree did not fol­low FIFA pro­to­cols. The world soc­cer leader is­sued a public re­minder of the cor­rect re­sponse to player com­plaints.

“The three step process (is) stop the game, make an an­nounce­ment, stop the game a while, get the play­ers out,” In­fantino said on Tues­day. “Un­for­tu­nately idiots (are to blame). There are al­ways idiots every­where but we have to fight them ... con­tinue to fight.

“It’s good to bring these things out when they hap­pen. We have to work.”

Mun­tari ques­tioned FIFA’s com­mit­ment to tack­ling racism, con­cerns In­fantino wants to hear di­rectly.

“Of course I will speak to (Carlo) Tavec­chio,” In­fantino said, re­fer­ring to the Italian fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent who was banned for racism him­self in 2014. “I will speak to Mun­tari as well ... we will work to­gether.”

FIFA sec­re­tary gen­eral Fatma Samoura in­di­cated the Italian au­thor­i­ties could face ac­tion from the world body, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

“What mat­ters is that the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee has to act and the sooner the bet­ter,” Samoura said on the side­lines of FIFA meet­ings in Bahrain. “I have my per­sonal feel­ings on any­body that is treated like (Mun­tari) has been treated, on the pitch and off the pitch . ... I’m here to make sure that FIFA takes through the com­mit­tee the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion for any sin­gle dis­crim­i­na­tory ac­tion.”

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