Wenger wants stricter action against soccer racism

October 3rd, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

ArsenalLondon, Oct 3 (IANS) World football is dogged yet again by racism. Monkey chants were directed at Emile Heskey in Zagreb last month and in another case, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said Sol Campbell was subjevted to racist abuse by Tottenham fans.Football’s governing body, FIFA caused outrage when it only fined Croatia for the Heskey incident.

Paul Elliott, the former Chelsea defender who advises Uefa and the EC on anti-racism matters, has joined lobby groups ‘Kick It Out’ and ‘Football Against Racism’ in Europe in asking Soho Square to put pressure on FIFA for stringent punishment like banning fans.

Elliott has been impressed by the FA’s new chairman, Lord Triesman, who he hopes will convince Fifa of the need to apply sanctions like suspensions.

“A measly £15,000, which equates to 32p per head for the fans present, is totally unacceptable,” Elliott said. “Fines don’t hurt people. It has to be suspension. Fifa can deduct (qualifying) points and ban them from games.

“Fifa has adjusted their laws to enable them to apply very solid sanctions but they have chosen not to implement them. This was a gilt-edged opportunity to send out that message and Fifa did not. For £15,000, what message are we sending out? Are we still keeping racism in football? Michel Platini and Uefa have been abundantly clear of their zero tolerance to racism. Fifa must be.”

Meanwhile, Hampshire Police are investigating the chanting against Campbell during Portsmouth’s match against Tottenham Sunday and Wenger, who bought the England defender from Spurs in 2001, says that abusive supporters should simply be banned from matches.

“In Spurs’ case, I believe it was not only racism,” Wenger said at a press briefing.

“Abuse can’t be tolerated by anybody to anybody in the world. How can you fight against it? By singling out people who do it. You can punish them individually by not letting them into the ground.

“The abuse only becomes singled out when it is racism but racism is not the only sort of abuse you get. Sometimes stupidity is contagious.”

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