Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - Page 18 News List

EURO 2012: Ruud Gullit opposes yellow cards for anti-racism protests


Ruud Gullit opposes UEFA president Michel Platini’s insistence that Euro 2012 players should be given a yellow card if they walk off the pitch in protest at racist abuse.

The Netherlands great joined other black former players on Friday to launch a UEFA-backed “Respect Diversity” campaign to run throughout the tournament.

“I don’t agree so much about the yellow and red cards,” said Gullit, who captained the Dutch team to victory at Euro 1988.

Gullit added that overall he backed UEFA’s efforts to tackle the issue of racism, which has dominated the final days leading to Friday’s kickoff.

Former Tottenham forward Garth Crooks called on Platini to relax his stance on strictly upholding the laws of soccer, which demand sanctioning players who leave the pitch.

Soccer “must find a better way” to deal with the problem, said Crooks, a pundit for the BBC, whose recent documentary on racism in the host countries fueled the debate.

“To book a player because he feels psychologically that he cannot continue for whatever reason — it’s not an excuse to caution him,” he said.

Gullit and Crooks spoke alongside Nigerian-born former Poland striker Emmanuel Olisadebe and former England Under-21 international Paul Elliott.

UEFA secretary-general Gianni Infantino outlined a three-step process that UEFA has asked match referees to follow in the event of racial abuse in the eight Euro 2012 stadiums.

First, a warning would be broadcast to fans over the stadium loudspeakers; for a second offense, the referee would halt the match and take the teams off the pitch; for a third incident after the game resumed, the referee would abandon the match.

Stewards and stadium security officials monitoring closed-circuit cameras would also seek to remove fans thought responsible.

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