FIFA President Infantino: Game must stop during racist incidents

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is in agreement that football matches need to be stopped whenever racist abuse occurs.

The subject has gained massive attention globally after Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior was racially abused during a La Liga game with Valencia last month.

Punishments have been handed out to some of the culprits, while La Liga, whom Vinicius accused of encouraging racism, has taken steps to create more awareness about the issue. Legislation known as “Vini Jr. Law” was also passed by the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro to interrupt or end games in the event of racist abuse.

FIFA has never had such protocol before but Infantino believes it needs to happen whenever racist abuse occurrs on the pitch and is ready to collaborate with players, including Vinicius on suggestions how the global football governing body can tackle the problem of racism in the game.

“Where there are acts of racism or discrimination on the pitch, you have to stop the game – that’s it. We have to be decisive and the referees have this opportunity in FIFA competitions,” Infantino said in a meeting with Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) President Ednaldo Rodrigues on Thursday.

“We have this process for stopping the game, and you have to take action at every level, at national level as well. Because the message needs to be visible and strong, a very strong message. If there is racism, there is no football – that’s it. If there is racism, there is no football. So if there is racism, we stop the football – that’s it.”

“The priority now is to create a squad, a group of players and athletes who will act together with FIFA to make specific suggestions that we’ll then implement, as executives.”

Infantino also met with Vinicius in Barcelona on Thursday as Brazil prepare to take on Guinea in a friendly match on Saturday. The game is part of the campaign against racism in football.

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