Published On: Sun, Jan 27th, 2013

Pierluigi Collina: Racism must be fought

Legendary retired referee Pierluigi Collina is disgusted by the existence of racism in football and believes the sport is in jeopardy if it is not fought properly.

The former Serie A official, and current member of the UEFA referees committee, shared his thoughts on the persisting racism problem in football with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Racism, like betting, is a cancer to be fought, otherwise football will die,” he said.

“As Michel Platini pointed out, since 2009 UEFA have a very clear protocol that referees must respect. If there are blatant insults and chants, the first phase requires a brief stop in play and a warning message sent out to the crowd.

“If the situation does not improve, he can suspend the match for 5-10 minutes with the teams sent back to the locker room and another message over the tannoy system.

“The final step is the definitive interruption of the match in accordance with the UEFA delegate and local figure responsible for security.

“This is a difficult decision, but the referees must be ready to make it. It is their duty.”

Collina then went on to praise Serie A for utilising a second goal line referee in their matches, and expressed his hopes for other nations to follow.

“A mistake is part of a referee’s life, but it is also an opportunity to grow. It is easier for a referee to have control when he is helped by the additional assistants, as they can divide their tasks, keep a closer eye on at-risk situations and therefore diminish errors.

“Nobody ever thought this could eliminate mistakes completely, as we will always have to consider the element of human fallibility. However, there are fewer errors than there were before.

“Football has changed a great deal and maintaining that two eyes are enough to deal with the game is anachronistic. Serie A had courage and are paving the way for other Federations like Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Belgium and Hungary.

“Russia will begin using additional referees in their Cup games, then some ties in Romania, Bosnia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.”

Racism has been a reoccurring problem in the world of football, but has been gaining much attention from the public since AC Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng recently left the pitch after racial chanting started in a game against Pro Patria.

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