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UEFA President Michel Platini: Players to be Booked If they Leave the Pitch Due to Racism

Platini stresses that only referees have the power to act if racist abuse occurs.

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Euro 2012: Players to be booked if they leave the pitch due to racism

Uefa president Michel Platini says that any players who walk off the pitch at Euro 2012 due to racial abuse will be booked.

A BBC Panorama programme highlighted racism incidents at grounds in Poland and Ukraine, who co-host Euro 2012.
Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch if he believed he was a victim.

But Platini said: “It’s a yellow card. It’s not a player – Mr Balotelli – who’s in charge of refereeing.”
Platini insists officials will deal with any racist incidents that occur during the tournament, which begins on Friday.
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“It’s the referee who takes these decisions. Referees can finish the game. They have this power in case of racism,” Platini told the BBC sports editor David Bond.

“That is, I think, the best way to protect the game against racism.

“The referee has been given advice and he can stop the game if there are problems.”

SOURCE: BBC Sport

Whilst it’s probably right for referees to adjudicate whether to take action if/when racist abuse occurs at the Euro 2012 finals one can’t help but feel that UEFA hasn’t done enough to eradicate this behaviour from football grounds in the first place.

The BBC Panorama programme showed just how prevalent racist and bigoted behaviour is in both the Ukraine and Poland and years of insufficient penalties and broken promises to clean up the game have led us to this situation. Had the UEFA taken a tougher stance on such occurrences then perhaps people would have been forced to re-think their actions.

No one could blame Mario Balotelli, or any other player, from protesting against abuse they receive that is of a racist or prejudiced nature by walking off the pitch. Perhaps they should now take their concerns to the referee who will hopefully then make the correct decision that would then perhaps lead to the police at the relevant stadium ejecting those who are committing the offence.

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