Inter Milan faces new racism charge

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 9:36am

(CNN) -- The scourge of racism within football has reared its head once again, with Inter Milan charged by UEFA over "racist behavior" of its supporters during last week's Europe League contest against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Italian club has also been charged with "insufficient organization" and "throwing of missiles and/or fireworks."

Inter supporters are alleged to have taunted the English team's Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor and other black players with monkey chants -- actions which were reported to European soccer's ruling body by the match delegate.

The case will be heard on April 19. Inter won the match 4-1 but was eliminated from Europe's second-tier competition on the away goals rule with the aggregate score tied at 4-4.

Last month, Inter was fined $65,500 by the Italian football authorities after its fans were found guilty of racially abusing former players Mario Balotelli and Sulley Muntari, who now play for rival AC Milan.

The club was also fined $22,700 after fans sang racist chants about Balotelli during a Serie A game against Chievo.

Fellow Italian club Lazio was hit with a $52,000 fine last month by UEFA for several offenses, including a fourth charge of racist behavior this season.

Lazio had already been fined a total of $230,000 for racist abuse and other fan offenses during two group-stage matches with Tottenham and another against Slovenia's Maribor.

In January, the president of football's world governing body FIFA insisted that a more hard-line approach should be taken in dealing with racism.

Sepp Blatter advocated punishments such as point deductions and relegation for clubs found guilty.

"It is not enough to give a fine," he told FIFA's website.

"Playing a game without spectators is one of the possible sanctions, but the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team, because finally the club is responsible for their spectators."

Since AC Milan forward Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch in a friendly match in January following racist abuse, both FIFA and UEFA have faced criticism over their reactions to such incidents.

Blatter's stance has changed in recent months given that just two years ago he said racism did not exist in football and that any problems could be solved with a handshake.

But the 77-year-old, who has spent the past 15 years in charge of FIFA, has changed his view following a number of recent unsavory incidents. He will be meeting Boateng at FIFA headquarters in Zurich this Friday to discuss the problem of racism in football.

"It is a phenomena where football is a victim of our society," Blatter said in January.

"Discrimination and racism is everywhere in our society. We in football cannot be made responsible for what happens in our society.

"It is now up to us to take the adequate steps. What I feel we should do is give instructions to our national associations and the confederations -- specifically to the disciplinary committees -- to be very strong."

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