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Racism: Guilty teams face automatic match forfeiture, FIFA warns


Federation of International Football Association President, Gianni Infantino has strongly recommended the implementation of automatic forfeits for teams whose fans engage in racist abuse. 

This call follows distressing incidents at Udinese and Sheffield Wednesday, which Infantino described as “totally abhorrent.” AC Milan’s victory at Udinese was temporarily suspended due to alleged racist abuse directed at goalkeeper Mike Maignan, while Coventry’s Kasey Palmer reported facing similar abuse at Hillsborough.

Infantino expressed his stance on the matter in a post, emphasizing the need for more severe penalties: “We have to implement an automatic forfeit for the team whose fans have committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists.”

He further stated, “FIFA and football show full solidarity to victims of racism and any form of discrimination. Once and for all: No to racism! No to any form of discrimination!”

The events in Udine and Sheffield prompted a strong reaction from Infantino, who affirmed his unequivocal support for the affected players. 

He called for collective action, urging relevant stakeholders to take measures, starting with education in schools to eradicate racism from football and society.

AC Milan’s players, including Maignan, walked off the pitch after the goalkeeper reported hearing “monkey noises” from the crowd at the Stadio Friuli. Maignan later stated, “This shouldn’t exist in the world of football, but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence.”

Despite the disturbing incidents, Milan eventually returned to the pitch and secured a 3-2 victory. Maignan stressed the urgency of addressing the issue: “With all the cameras present and sanctions for these things, something must be done to change things. We all have to react; we must do something because you can’t play like this.”

The football community rallied behind Maignan, with Milan and Inter publicly supporting him, Serie A condemning all forms of racism, and France striker Kylian Mbappe declaring, “Enough is enough.”