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Football | Africa

Blatter blasts Boateng



Fifa boss Sepp Blatter does not believe Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng's decision to walk off the pitch during a friendly this week was the right response to racist abuse and warned clubs they risk forfeiting matches if there is a repeat.

The former Portsmouth and Tottenham player led his team-mates off the pitch during a friendly at Pro Patria after being subjected to racist chanting from a section of the home fans, and Boateng said he would walk off again in any competitive match under similar circumstances.

Speaking at a conference in the Middle East, Blatter said football must take a "zero-tolerance approach" to racism but suggested that clubs should have to forfeit matches if their players force the abandonment of a game, whatever the reason.

Quoted in The National, a United Arab Emirates newspaper, he said: "Walk off? No. I don't think that is the solution. But the Italian federation has yet to provide Fifa with a report detailing what exactly has happened. I don't think you can run away, because then the team should have to forfeit the match. This issue is a very touchy subject, but I repeat there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium, we have to go against that.

"The only solution is to be very harsh with the sanctions [against racism] – and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar."

He added: "We have to have no tolerance to racism, absolutely no tolerance. This action is an example that the spectators must behave well because, as I understand it, the player ran away and the others went with him. [The spectators] cannot go on abusing afterwards."

In an interview with CNN broadcast on Friday, Boateng expressed his frustration with a perceived lack of support from world football's governing body.

The Milan ace added: "So many people in Fifa can do something and they should wake up and do it. They should not tolerate it. They should ban people forever from the stadiums. That's the first thing you can do."

The Italian Football Federation has announced it will conduct an investigation into the incident.

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