Skip to main content

Platini warns players over racism walk offs

May 24, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michel Platini urges players not to walk off the pitch if racially abused
  • The UEFA president insists the decision to stop a match rests with referees
  • The Frenchman also reiterates his stance against goal-line technology
  • Platini remains behind the Qatar World Cup in 2022 being played in winter

(CNN) -- The head of European football has told players not to walk off the pitch if they are racially abused, saying any decision to stop a match should be left to the referee.

UEFA president Michel Platini's comments come just one week after AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who was subjected to "monkey chants" in a recent match against Roma, told CNN he would leave the pitch if he was abused in future.

Read: Balotelli makes racism vow

Balotelli's teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the field during an exhibition match against a fourth division team in January and while Platini support's Boateng's decision, it is a situation he is keen not to see repeated.

"It's not a matter for the player to regulate the game and to stop the game; it's a matter for the referee," Platini, who has been president of European football's governing body since 2007, told CNN in an exclusive interview.

Platini on Ferguson and Beckham retirements
Balotelli: I've had enough of racist abuse
Balotelli: I'm glad I left England
Balotelli on tattoos, women and food

"It's not normal that people in 2013 are being insulted about their color, about the difference of color. It's not normal. It's very tough for the player on the field."

Read: UEFA steps up racism fight

But Platini fears that if a team is "not happy" and is losing a match its players could decide to leave the field for reasons that might having nothing to do with racist abuse.

On Thursday, UEFA announced a raft of new racism regulations -- part closures of stadiums, match abandonments and full stadium closures in the event of discriminatory chanting.

Clubs would be handed a fine of $65,000, a figure which has drawn criticism as being too meager for football teams which are multi-million dollar businesses.

But Platini defended the severity of that financial sanction.

"It's not a question of money," explained the Frenchman, who said clubs are often left in a difficult position when trying to deal with fans who attend games armed with political agendas.

In the past Platini has also faced criticism for his stance on goal-line technology (GLT), with the Frenchman often portrayed as a "luddite" for opposing the use of a system which FIFA has embraced.

GLT debuted at last year's Club World Cup and is set for another run out in June's FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

But the 57-year-old Platini defended his position, insisting money should be spent on developing the game at grassroots level rather than GLT.

"It will cost me $67 million to have GLT," continued Platini, who was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1984.

"I have to put it in all the games in the Champions League and all the games in the Europa League. I have to put it in Kazakhstan, in Manchester and in Turkey.

Boateng: Racism in football must end
Boris Becker: A champion's London tour
Who will win the Champions League final?

"It costs me $67 million, for one goal, two goals a year? I prefer to invest that for the use football in the grassroots."

Championed as a possible successor to FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the next election in 2015, Platini would not be drawn on whether he has ambitions to succeed the 77-year-old Swiss.

"He will be 79," said Platini. referring to how old Blatter will be at FIFA's next presidential elections. "If he thinks it's time to stop, it's up to him."

Read: How Germany became uber cool

If Platini does succeed Blatter as head of football's global governing body, one item on his agenda will be the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, particularly with regard to what time of the year that tournament should be staged.

Fears have been raised over playing the tournament in its usual June-July slot, which would see players compete in high temperatures.

Platini has long been an advocate of playing the tournament in the European winter, a proposal which has been met with staunch opposition as it would disrupt the traditional season for Europe's major leagues.

"If I am president of FIFA or not president of FIFA," declared Platini, "I will always support we have to play in winter."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT