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UEFA boss Aleksander Cerefin has said the rules regarding racism needs to change. The Slovenian addressing the UEFA Congress on Tuesday spoke about the sporting successes and great commercial success of the organisation also.
However, he did mentioned that racism has to be tackled and rules need to change on how racism is handled. He said a huge amount of work needs to be done. UEFA have come under serious pressure for not enforcing stricter penalties for fans that engage in such discriminatory behaviour. Cerefin said, “Things need to change,”. He continued, “We must begin by applying the rules we already have. That would be a good starting point. That means applying the three-step procedure. We must not be afraid to do so. Everywhere. No exceptions.
Furthermore, he said that in the last three season UEFA have imposed 73 partial stadium closures, while also ordering 39 games to be played behind closed doors. He said, “In the last three seasons, the UEFA disciplinary bodies have imposed 73 partial stadium closures and ordered 39 matches to be played behind closed doors following incidents of discrimination.
He says, it shows the organisation is doing the job but more simply has to be done. In addition, He said, “That shows that we are doing what is currently in our power to do. But it also shows what a serious problem it is, and that we need to do more. More, and perhaps differently. So we that can be proud of ourselves once again.”
He said football should be celebrated. “Football is, above all, a celebration of life, community and unity. It’s an exchange. It’s about sharing”. “The problem is not on the pitch, where diversity is greater than in any other sport and probably any other part of society. The problem is in our societies. And this has to stop.”
It remains to be seen now whether tougher fines and bans will come in for racism at games. For instance Bulgaria when they took on England and engaging in racist behaviour were told they had to play one match behind closed doors. Bulgaria were only fined 75,000 euro as well. Harsher penalties need to put in place to end racism in sport. Players should also should stand together and say enough is enough and walk off the field.