AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who led a walk-off in a club friendly in January after being racially abused, believes the game needs to be more multicultural.
The Ghana international has since decided his protest in the match against Italian fourth-tier side Aurora Pro Patria 1919 was not the right thing to do, but, ahead of a meeting with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Boateng said drastic changes are needed.
“If it’s more multicultural, it gets more people and more countries involved, and these things can help,” former Portsmouth player Boateng was quoted as saying by the BBC on Thursday.
“Let’s hope that soon there’s going to be a black [Jose] Mourinho and a Pakistani [Pep] Guardiola,” he added, in reference to Real Madrid coach Mourinho and former Barcelona manager Guardiola.
Harsher penalties are also needed for racist players, Boateng said.
“A player who does something wrong, who is racist, can never play for the club again or can never play in the country again,” he said. “These are the things that hurt and I think this is the right way to go. [It needs to be] very strict, very hard and make it very clear. Money doesn’t really hurt, it’s not the subject that can hurt you so much.”
English soccer’s reputation has suffered from players being accused of racism, with Chelsea’s John Terry fined ￡220,000 (US$334,000) in September last year for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was fined ￡40,000 in December 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Italy has also had its share of bad publicity from racism.
On Monday, UEFA said Inter were under investigation for their fans’ racist behavior toward Tottenham Hotspur players in a Europa League match.
Last month, Inter were also fined 50,000 euros (US$64,600) for abuse directed at AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli by supporters.
FIFA has set up a task force to review the way the sport handles racist incidents, which have increased dramatically in recent years.