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Platini: Referees can stop games because of racism at Euro 2012

The UEFA president has revealed that officials will take a strong stance at the competition, also claiming players cannot dictate the game after Balotelli's walk-off threats

UEFA president Michel Platini has claimed that referees at Euro 2012 will take a strong stance concerning racism from the stands, revealing that they will have the power to stop games.

The Frenchman expressed his belief that such measures are the only way to stamp out the troubles which were revealed to be rife in fans from the host countries.

"Referees can finish the game. They have this power in case of racism," Platini told BBC Sport. "That is, I think, the best way to protect the game against racism."

Yet the UEFA president claimed that he does not fear that any potential problems would tarnish his own personal reputation.

"My reputation because there are racists in Poland and Ukraine - are you joking? You think I am responsible for the racists in the rest of Europe or in England or in France?" he explained. "My responsibility is not to do nothing - and we have done a lot to change the rules, to change the regulations, to help 'You're Fair' and 'Never Again’. We help them, we do a lot for racism - but I am not responsible for society.

"The society is not so easy. You have some problems and we have to organize these Euros from the beginning with some problems because these two countries never welcome so big an event in the past. It was a big challenge for Poland, big challenge for Ukraine, a big challenge for Uefa - and we have done our best."

Platini also responded to comments from Italy's Mario Balotelli, who claimed that he would walk off of the pitch if he falls victim of racial abuse from fans, by saying that he would not allow players to referee the game and that Balotelli would receive a yellow card if he was to do so.

 "It's a yellow card. It's not a player - Mr Balotelli - who's in charge of refereeing. It's the referee who takes these decisions," Platini said.

"So the referee has been given advice and he can stop the game if there are problems."

Claims that the two nations were a bad choice as hosts because of widespread nationalism were countered by Platini who insisted the issue is just as bad elsewhere in the world.

"If you want to have a program on racism you can go everywhere now because there is an increase in the nationalists in many, many countries. It is not just a fact only in Poland and Ukraine," he said. "You can go in France, United States, in England and you will find the problem of racism. You have more nationalists in many, many countries in east of Europe - that is true."

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