UEFA head warns players to stop walking off pitch despite racial abuse
Washington: The head of European football has told players not to walk off the pitch if they are racially abused, saying that any decision to stop a match should be left to the referee.
The comments of UEFA president Michel Platini came after AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who was subjected to ``monkey chants`` in a recent match against Roma, had vowed that he would leave the pitch if he was abused in future, CNN reports.
Although Platini supported Balotelli`s teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng decision in also walking off the field during an exhibition match against a fourth division team earlier the year, he said that the situation should not be repeated again, adding that it is the job of the referee to regulate or stop the game, instead of the player.
Platini, who has been president of European football`s governing body since 2007, however, said that it is not normal that even in 2013, footballers continue to get racially abused, adding that it becomes very tough for the player to handle such taunts on the field.
Following the UEFA announcement of a raft of new racism regulations, Platini fears that if a team is ``not happy`` and is losing a match, its players could decide to leave the field for reasons that might having nothing to do with racist abuse.
Meanwhile, Platini defended the fine of 65,000 dollars for guilty clubs, which has been widely criticised as being too multi-millionaire football teams, saying that it is not a question of money as clubs are often left in a difficult position when trying to deal with fans who attend games armed with political agendas.