This week I had the opportunity to meet Vinícius Júnior, the victim of several shocking racist incidents while playing for his club this season.
I met Vinícius Júnior as I spent time with the Brazil national team and Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF- Confederação Brasileira de Futebol – Brazil SOCCER) President Ednaldo Rodrigues to discuss the racism issues faced by players. It’s very important not just to talk about racism and discrimination, but to take action in a decisive and convincing manner. Zero tolerance. FIFA is together with the CBF and with all the players in this fight. It’s important to introduce sporting sanctions and I congratulate CBF for having done so already.
There is no football if there is racism, so let’s stop the games. The referees have this opportunity in FIFA competitions as we have this process for stopping the game, and actions have to be taken at every level, at national level as well. Everyone has to understand this and we will go, together, until the end.
We want to identify racists in stadiums and across social media. They are criminals, and we have to fight against them away from stadiums – they have to be banned from stadiums across the globe. The authorities need to take these people to court and we will say this to all of them. Racism is a crime.
We will also strengthen the engagement with players on this crucial topic so I am glad Vinícius Júnior accepted to be part of a task force which will include other important players and will elaborate upon concrete and efficient measures to end racism in football once and for all.
Credit: Gianni Infantino/LinkedIn