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May 14, 2013

Fines for racism 'not valid', Blatter says

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said the racist chanting during AC Milan's game with Roma on Sunday strengthened his determination to introduce more severe sanctions.

Play was suspended during the 0-0 draw at the San Siro as offensive chants were directed at Milan players by the away fans. Roma were fined €50,000 by the Lega Calcio.

In recent months, Blatter - who took to Twitter to say he was "appalled" by the abuse - has outlined a determination to introduce tougher sanctions for racial offences.

He told FIFA.com the Lega Calcio's punishment was "not valid" and that he would speak to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

"I think lessons have not been learned," he said on Tuesday. "It is incredible that we had such incidents, especially in the Italian Serie A in the San Siro between AC Milan and Roma, a very important match.

"What is surprising, and is not understandable for me, is that the Disciplinary Committee of the Italian Football Federation has taken a decision, not even 24 hours after the event, by just imposing a fine.

"They have not made any investigation of what happened, and just to give a pecuniary sanction is not valid, that is not acceptable.

"You will always find money. What is €50,000 for such an incident? I'm not happy, and I will call the Italian Federation. That's not a way to deal with such matters."

FIFA has set up an anti-racism 'task force' in a bid to introduce stronger punishments. The organisation is proposing "a warning, a fine or the playing of a match behind closed doors" for "a first or minor offence".

For more serious offences, or for repeat offenders, "points deductions, expulsion from a competition, or relegation" are suggested.

Blatter is hopeful that this latest incident will help his task force implement its recommendations when the FIFA Congress begins later this month.

He said: "In two weeks, we have our FIFA Congress, and we will have a resolution that will be binding for everybody."

He added: "I think [the Milan incident] is good for us and for the FIFA Congress, when we will present this resolution. In this resolution, there are foreseen sanctions, and these sanctions must be applied all around the world. That's why we need the Congress's decision."