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Real Madrid’s Vinícius racially abused: what is Gianni Infantino and FIFA’s ‘three-step’ solution?

Infantino has been criticised for his lack of condemnation, as have FIFA for their plan to combat racism.

Infantino has been criticised for his lack of condemnation, as have FIFA for their plan to combat racism.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has hit the headlines on a number of occasions for – if we’re being kind – ‘wacky’ speeches and statements since coming into power. Perhaps the best known, of course, is his ‘Today I feel’ monologue on the eve of the 2022 World Cup, in which he accused critics of Qatar’s human rights record of hypocrisy.

Infantino has now waded into the controversy surrounding the racist abuse suffered by Real Madrid attacker Vinícius in the LaLiga clash against Valencia on Sunday, in which the Brazilian identified and tried to confront fans who he claimed to have heard directing discriminatory insults his way.

Support from Vinícius from around the world

The winger has received support from around the world following the incident, with ex-Barcelona star Ronaldinho, former Madrid teammate Casemiro and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva amongst those to have spoken out

The FIFA President took to Instagram to address the issue but has received criticism for his relative lack of condemnation other than “there is no place for racism”, while his organisation’s ‘three-step process’ for how to combat racism has also caused serious debate.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s comments on Vinícius incident

“Full solidarity to Vinícius. There is no place for racism in football or in society and FIFA stands by all players who have found themselves in such a situation. Events during the match between Valencia and Real Madrid show that this needs to be the case.

That is why the three-step process exists in FIFA competitions and it is recommended at all levels of football. Firstly, you stop the match, you announce it. Secondly, the players leave the pitch and the speaker announces that if the attacks continue, the match will be suspended. The match restarts, and then, thirdly, if the attacks continue, the match will stop and the three points will go to the opponent. These are the rules that should be implemented in all countries and in all leagues.

Clearly, this is easier said than done, but we need to do it and we need to support it through education”.

FIFA’s ‘three-step process’: not far enough

While the FIFA President’s intentions are presumably good, FIFA’s ‘three-step’ process means players could theoretically be racially abused on two occasions in a match before any real action is taken. The procedure has been in use by world soccer’s governing body since the Confederations Cup was played in Russia in 2017.


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