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Blatter calls for demotion to punish racism
24 Jan, 2013 7:15 PM GMT
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has recommended relegation as a possible punishment for clubs whose fans are found guilty of racist chanting.
The issue of racist abuse has been firmly in the spotlight recently, with AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng's walk-off in a friendly against Pro Patria at the forefront, while Lazio were fined 40,000 euros by UEFA for racist chanting in a Europa League match against Tottenham.
Blatter praised Boateng for delivering a 'strong warning' to offenders and believes points deductions and relegation are appropriate sanctions against a club which cannot control the behaviour of its fans.
"I agree with and support the movement of Boateng, as I have said, as it was a strong warning," Blatter told FIFA.com.
"It is now up to us to take the adequate steps.
"What I feel we should do is give instructions to our national associations and the confederations, specifically to the disciplinary committees, to be very strong.
"It is not enough to give a fine.
"Playing a game without spectators is one of the possible sanctions but the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team, because finally the club is responsible for their spectators."
Meanwhile Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has called on all within football to unite behind Boateng's example.
Prandelli has warned football cannot afford to ignore racism any longer.
"Sometimes we talk about lowering our voices but everyone needs to raise their voices against racism," Prandelli told Radio 24.
"I supported Milan and Boateng's choice to leave the field due to the racist chanting in Busto Arsizio.
"It was a strong gesture but maybe it will be difficult to repeat.
"But we must have the strength to be indignant, to say 'enough' and to turn our backs on those who chant offensive things."
"It's important to talk about it, to discuss it.
"We can't pretend that nothing happened. We have to say 'enough'."