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UEFA chief Ceferin slams outbreaks of racist abuse

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted on Tuesday that he is ashamed of the recent outbreaks of racism that have blighted football this season.

England stars Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi endured racist abuse from Montenegro fans during last month’s Euro 2020 qualifier, while in the club game Inter Milan, Dinamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev have all been punished with full or partial venue closures due to racist behaviour by supporters.

“I am ashamed, ashamed that in 2019 we have to hold a conference to promote diversity,” said Ceferin, at Wembley on Tuesday for the first Equal Game conference held to help tackle discrimination.

“It is worrying to see world leaders and politicians playing down racist and discriminatory incidents.”

Ceferin will ask referees to “not be afraid” to stop matches when there is racial abuse. “The moment a match is stopped, or it’s not played, I think that 90 percent of normal people in the stadium would kick the asses of those idiots,” Ceferin said.

“It’s 2019, it’s not 100 years ago. We will speak to the referees again, and tell them to be confident, not to be afraid to act.

“This is a huge problem. Not just the Balkans, all eastern Europe … But of course you see Italy, one of the biggest problems with racism, sexism and homophobia. You have England, where you have problems.” – ‘More needs to be done’ – English football bosses are also ready to strengthen punishments against racism.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke revealed the English game’s governing body is reviewing disciplinary processes, to ensure claims of abuse are investigated more meticulously.

Clarke also revealed a review of training for match stewards on how to handle discrimination issues, with the FA keen to act after the abuse England players suffered in Podgorica.

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