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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Stop the games for 10 minutes." Michel Platini, President of UEFA

UEFA President Michel Platini during a press conference - Czech Republic
Michel Platini, the current President of UEFA, was one of the modern day greats of the game. He was a star at St. Etienne and Juventus FC in the 1980s, along with the French National Team. Today, he was in Rome to present the city with the Champions League trophy ahead of the final next month.

He was asked to comment on the unfortunate events that occurred last Saturday night at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Some elements of the Juventus faithful abused Palermo native, Mario Balotelli of Internazionale, with ignorant racist chants ("A black Italian doesn't exist") throughout the game. Due to the behavior of a few, Juventus must play their 03 May fixture against Lecce behind closed doors.

SOCCER: MAR 11 UEFA Champions League - Manchester United v Internazionale

"L'unico modo è fermare le partite", ha detto Platini. "Ci vorrà coraggio, ma la decisione dell'Uefa d'ora in poi è di sospendere le partite per dieci minuti in caso di cori razzisti, e in caso continuino nonostante gli annunci di fermarle definitivamente".

"Il nostro messaggio è chiaro: tolleranza zero contro il razzismo. Il calcio unisce le persone e supera le differenze. Il colore della pelle non si vede sotto una maglia da calcio e per l'Uefa sarà sempre così. Sul campo e sugli spalti"."

"Non è stata una cosa bella nè intelligente: ma conosco i tifosi Juve da trent'anni, non sono dei tifosi razzisti. Hanno avuto e hanno giocatori di colore".
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 21 April 2009.
"The only way is to stop the games. It will take courage, but the decision of UEFA at this time and in the future is to suspend the games for 10 minutes in the event of racist chants, and in case they continue, call off the games...

Our message is clear: Zero tolerance against racism. Football unites people and overcomes differences. The color of your skin is not seen underneath a football kit and for UEFA it will always be like this. On the pitch and in the stands."

"It wasn't a great or intelligent thing to see: But I know the Juventus supporters for over 30 years, they are not racist fans. They have had and have players of color."

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