Football players have been told that if they walk off the pitch during the European Championships after being subjected to racial abuse they will receive a yellow card. The referees are going to have the power to punish players even if they are being abused by the crowd.
Last week, Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after racial abuse was shouted at him. The player for Manchester City was told that if he walked off the pitch he would be punished, unless the officials decided to end the game.
The president of UEFA, Michel Platini stated, “We want to make it clear to players that if they walk off the pitch without an official decision to end the match, then they will be punished.
“The punishment is going to be a yellow card and the decision about whether to award it is going to lie solely in the hands of the referee. Of course, if the referee does decide to end a game because the racial abuse is too much, then we will fully support him, but we won’t support players walking off the pitch on their own accord.”
UEFA has also stated that all players have been made aware of the changes and there is a clear process which will be followed if one of their players are subjected to abuse. Referees have been well-informed about the procedure to take if a player is being subjected to abuse.
A spokesperson stated, “All officials have been briefed on the procedure and things are absolutely clear. Protocols are in place for dealing with abuse and they will be easy for referees to follow.” It is likely that if teams are racist, then UEFA will expel them from the tournament, cementing a position that racism in football is completely unacceptable.