Manchester: Manchester City and Ivorian international Yaya Toure believes racist fans need to be threatened with “radical sanctions” as the anti-discrimination drive gears up ahead of the 2018 football World Cup in Russia.
The midfielder, who was the victim of monkey chants while playing in Russia against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in 2013, believes the time has come to deal with such behaviour through harsh action.
“Racism is a big problem now – it is a problem in our society in general – and we need to show them they need to change, otherwise there will be a radical sanction,” Toure was quoted as saying by goal.com on Tuesday.
Toure wants world football’s governing body FIFA to play a more active role to eradicate racism from the game and believes heavy penalties in countries like Russia and Ukraine can lead to a cleaner game.
“UEFA have been doing things for 20 years now, but it cannot solve the problem itself. I think FIFA needs to work with the campaigners, the players and the media to resolve this. We are all people who care about this.
“As an African, you can imagine how difficult it is to deal with this. In the past I’ve played in Russia, and I have spoken of this with friends who play in Russia and Ukraine. We all say the same. Something needs to change. And the ultimate sanctions should be given if it goes on,” he said.
The new FIFA system will look at match observers reports on fan behaviour at all 900-plus qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the world governing body ruling on any issues within as little as 24 hours.
Sanctions could range from playing games behind closed doors to banning associations from World Cup qualification.