Call for tougher punishments for racism on the pitch

By Danny Caro, November 24, 2011
Follow Danny on Twitter

Racial hatred on the football pitch must continue to be dealt with by a firm hand, not a handshake.

That is the call from Maccabi League player Virgil Levy (left), who was on the receiving end of racial abuse during a game two years ago.

Levy, who is of South American origin, hit out at the controversial comments made by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, which attracted damning views from MSFL managers on the JC website.

As reported, Levy was called a "Paki" by rival players. He believes Blatter's comments were ill-judged and that tougher measures need to be introduced into the game.

If I saw the players again, I would not be so diplomatic

He said: "Every footballer old enough to use slanderous gestures or comments should not only be fined and reprimanded, but should be made an example of and excluded - for life. If that is too strenuous then a 'two-strikes-and-you're-out' approach should be adopted.

"Every guilty player must not be allowed to make any half-admission and get away with what is essentially a criminal offence. I know what happened with my incident, which was of course documented. In essence, if I saw the players again, I probably would not be so diplomatic.

"The FA showed no interest whatsoever in my case and I gather the guilty parties still remain free to play football. No fines were paid.

"In all instances, past and present, it remains obvious that racism exists in football, from the grass roots, the playground, through to top-flight football. There is a culture of sweeping things like this under the carpet and Mr Blatter should really resign or be sacked. If exclusion is the only way to improve football and encourage all races to pull in a positive direction, then so be it. There would be protection for those who are not able to take rough treatment by abusive players."

David Wolff, chairman of the JC MSFL, echoes Levy's sentiments on the FIFA chief: "I think Mr Blatter is either naïve or stupid, or a combination of both. He's certainly not living in the real world. Racism and antisemitism are deep-rooted. People's hatred can't be solved by a handshake.

"I think Mr Blatter should go. He's 75 and I think that he should recognise the fact that he's made a lot of faux pas in recent years and step aside for someone else. This was, however, unlikely, Wolff believed: "Turkeys don't usually vote for Christmas."

Last updated: 11:08am, November 25 2011