Yaya Toure.
Yaya Toure. Getty Images Sport - Paolo Bruno

It’s time to kick out the racism

MANCHESTER City captain Yaya Toure's claims of racist chants aimed towards him in Russia in the Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in midweek must not be swept under the carpet.

FIFA has to do something now if the allegation can be proved, and it seems that for once, the world governing body is prepared to act rather than just sit on its hands.

Already this year there have been full stadium closures for clubs across Europe because of racist abuse from fans.

Dinamo Zagreb, of Croatia, Legia Warsaw, of Poland and Honved, of Hungary have all played behind closed doors because of the behaviour of their fans.

That punishment does not fit the crime, however, and it seems FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has decided enough is enough - about time too.

Blatter claimed fines and forcing teams to play behind closed door were inadequate punishment.

"We need to eliminate teams from a competition, or deduct points," he said.

Speaking at the English Football Association's 150th anniversary dinner in London, Blatter added: "Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination.

"It has been decided by the FIFA congress that it is a nonsense for racism to be dealt with with fines. You can always find money from somebody to pay them.

"We can do something better to fight racism and discrimination.

"This is one of the villains we have today in our game. But it is only with harsh sanctions that racism and discrimination can be washed out of football."

Well said Mr Blatter, but words mean nothing if they are not acted upon. It needs to be nipped in the bud now, otherwise, what will happen when the World Cup arrives in Russia in 2018?

Toure has already said this week that black footballers could boycott that competition which obviously would harm the sport.

If it is proved the racist abuse did happen, then CSKA should be thrown out of European competitions.

And if other cases raise their heads in Russia, then FIFA should also consider taking the World Cup off the country.

That threat, if made, would surely get some reaction.

CSKA general director Roman Babaev also claimed the matter had been "exaggerated" by the Ivorian (Toure's home country) and the British media. Instead of making those accusations, Mr Babaev should be taking the allegations extremely seriously and doing all he can to kick racism out of his club.

The European governing body says the CSKA Moscow case will be dealt with by its disciplinary board on Thursday, and that day cannot come soon enough for the good of football.