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Feb 13, 2013

Henry calls for stronger racism sanctions

New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry has told NBC that point deductions may be "the only way" to tackle racism in football.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has recently spoken of a need for "very severe" punishments for incidents of discrimination, urging the introduction of the deduction of points and even relegation.

Former France international Henry said in an interview with NBC that such sanctions "could be an option" amid concerns that punishments like fines and stadium bans are proving ineffective.

"Obviously I'm not in charge of this type of decision but that's the only way because actually you will find that normally fans do care about their team," he said. "If you do take points away, that can be really massive if you [are fighting relegation] or want to win the title."

In response to the belief that penalising clubs for the actions of a minority of their fans might be unfair, Henry suggested that the threat of draconian punishments would instead function as a deterrent.

"It's hard but, if I tell you that if you don't behave well your team might lose the game because of your behaviour, you might stop," he said. "I'm not saying that you're going to stop but you might stop because, at the end of the day, we are all there for the team and the club."

Inter Milan were fined €15,000 this week after their fans chanted racist insults about Mario Balotelli, while UEFA is now seeking stronger penalties for Serbia over the abuse that took place at the end of their Under-21 play-off match with England last year.

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