In a bid to tackle racism in soccer, Brazil and Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has agreed to join a new task force, FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters on Thursday. Vinicius has been the subject of sustained racist abuse by fans in Spanish stadiums throughout the season, with little done by referees or soccer bodies to protect him.
That must stop, Infantino said in an Instagram post after he met the player at a Brazil training camp in Spain.
“There is no football if there is racism! So let`s stop the games. We will also strengthen the engagement with players on this crucial topic so I am glad Vinicius accepted to be part of a task force which will include other important players and will elaborate concrete and efficient measures to end racism in football once and for all,” Infantino wrote.
FIFA created an anti-racism task force in 2013 after a notorious incident of abuse suffered in Italy by AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is Black.
Boateng worked with the task force which FIFA shut down in 2016, months after Infantino was elected. FIFA said then the task force had `completely fulfilled its temporary mission`.
Infantino said Thursday that more should be done to enforce soccer`s current three-step policy to stop games when players are racially abused.
He also called on fans who aim racial abuse `to be banned from stadiums across the globe`.
“We want to identify racists in stadiums and across social media. They are criminals,” the FIFA leader said. “The authorities need to take these people to court and we will say this to all of them: Racism is a crime.”