The Manchester City star has insisted huge punishments must be dealt out to those found guilty of discrimination
Yaya Toure believes racist fans need to be threatened with “radical sanctions” as Fifa steps up its anti-discrimination drive ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Manchester City midfielder, who was the victim of monkey chants while playing in Russia against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in 2013, says it is time for something serious to be done to rid the game of unwanted behaviour on the terraces.
“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 insisted at the launch of Fifa’s Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System at Wembley Stadium in London.
Toure has previously suggested black players could boycott countries in which racist behaviour is reported. And although he claimed that had been said amidst “confusion and anger” in the heat of the moment, he has pushed Fifa to step up its fight against racism across the world.
“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.”
The new Fifa system will see match observers report back 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.
But Federico Addiechi, Fifa’s Head of Sustainability, insists he believes in Russia to deliver a fantastic World Cup despite its own chequered history with racism – including what he calls “alarming reports” about racism in Russian domestic football.
“The rights for the World Cup were given to Russia unconditionally in the respect that they deliver what we expect from a World Cup in terms of the organisation of the event itself.
“There is not just a discrimination issue in Russia, that was also the case in the past in Brazil and in South Africa, and there is in terms of Qatar in 2022.
“We have faith in the Russian authorities to give the best possible effort to deliver a safe, comfortable environment in the country.
“The situation in Russian football can be compared with situations in other parts of the world. We as Fifa can provide additional support to member associations which can help to force a positive trend.”