FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has called for an ‘automatic forfeit’ of games for teams whose fans commit racist abuse.
AC Milan’s players walked off the pitch after goalkeeper Mike Maignan reportedly heard monkey noises coming from Udinese fans at the Stadio Friuli during a Serie A game on Saturday. Maignan signalled to his team-mates to stop, walked to the referee and then off the pitch.
Coventry’s match against Hillsborough also was stopped for several minutes after Kasey Palmer said he received similar abuse.
In a statement released on X (formerly Twitter), Infantino said: “The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable. There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination – both in football and in society. 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.
“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!”
Serie A, Milan and city rivals Inter all publicly supported Maignan. France captain Kylian Mbappe also supported his countryman Maignan.
“You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you. Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough. NO TO RACISM,” Mbappe posted on X.