FIFA: Teams should ‘forfeit’ for racist fan chants

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Saturday that teams whose fans engage in racist abuse should be made to forfeit following incidents in Italy’s Serie A and England’s Championship.

AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan briefly left the pitch in protest during a 3-2 win at Udinese due to repeated racist chants from home fans. He alerted the referee before walking to the team’s dressing room, followed by his teammates, before returning after a few minutes.

Earlier on Saturday, Coventry midfielder Kasey Palmer said he was a victim of racist abuse in the final stages of a 2-1 away victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

Infantino said in a statement released by FIFA: “The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield Wednesday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable. There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination, either in football or in society. The players affected by Saturday’s events have my full support.

“In addition to the three-step process [match stopped, match stopped again and match abandoned], we need to enforce automatic defeat for the team whose fans committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists,” he added.

Maignan, who was also subjected to racist chants in a game at Cagliari two seasons ago, called for tougher sanctions against those responsible.

“I said we cannot play football like this. It is not the first time it has happened this way,” Maignan told Sky Sports Italy. “They must hand out very strong sanctions, because talking no longer does anything.

“We have to say that what they are doing is wrong. It is not the whole crowd, most fans want to cheer on their team and jeer you, that’s normal, but not this.”

The France international called for accountability from “the entire system” in a post on X on Sunday.

“The perpetrators of these acts, because it is easy to act in a group in the anonymity of a platform, the spectators who were in the stand, who saw everything, who heard everything but who chose to remain silent, you are complicit,” Maignan wrote.

Meanwhile, Palmer wrote in a post on X that the racist treatment he received must be dealt with.

“Disappointed to even have to come on here & write this. Racism is a disgrace… it has no place in the world, let alone football. I’m Black and proud and I am raising my three kids to be the exact same. I’ll be honest, it feels like things will never change, no matter how hard we try,” he wrote.

“Couple fans doing monkey chants don’t define a fan base — I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.”

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