FIFA president Sepp Blatter has criticised the 50,000 euro ($64,850) fine handed to AS Roma for racist behaviour by their fans, describing the sanction as too weak and unacceptable. Blatter said he would call the Italian football federation, who he said had not been thorough enough in investigating Sunday's incident in the match at AC Milan.
"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," he told FIFA.com. 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 Euros 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."
Blatter added: "I think lessons have not been learned. 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.
"The referee had to stop the match for a few minutes in order to bring back calm. This is bad."
The referee stopped the match early in the second half of Sunday evening's match after racist chanting by the visiting fans. Warnings were broadcast over the public address system and play was re-started after a two-minute delay. The Italian disciplinary committee announced the sanction on Monday, saying three AC Milan players, who it did not identify, had been subject to racist abuse.
After the match AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said striker Mario Balotelli frequently suffered racist abuse. Milan's team also included Kevin-Prince Boateng, who walked off during a friendly match in January after racist abuse from the crowd at a fourth tier club. The Milan team followed him.
FIFA's annual Congress in Mauritius at the end of the month will vote on several proposals aimed at curbing racism at matches. These would include observers at matches to report and provide evidence of racism behaviour in the stands, plus a two tier system of sanctions including points deductions and expulsion from competition for severe offences.
"In this resolution, there are foreseen sanctions. And these sanctions must be applied all around the world," said Blatter. That's why we need the Congress's decision. That will bind together all the 209 (national) associations. I'm looking forward to that and I do hope, that there we will be no other incidents until May 30, when we will deal with this matter in Mauritius."