By Kris Voakes
Michel Platini insists football needs to do more in its battle against racism, with continued initiatives as much an admission of failure as a step in the right direction.
The Uefa president, speaking at the organisation’s Respect Diversity conference in Rome, has claimed that every new push for improvement underlines the fact there is still much to do in terms of eradicating racism from the game.
“This is the fourth conference of its kind in 11 years,” Platini said in his opening speech to the conference. “Uefa and I are not able to feel proud about this because, to be honest, it is an admission of failure.
“Racism remains a feature of both our society and football but at least we can say we are the first organisation to have put this issue on the agenda in this way.”
The Italian football federation is hosting the conference, and the body’s new president Carlo Tavecchio caused controversy before his election, describing African players as “some Opti Poba who previously ate bananas”.
Uefa has responded by opening proceedings against Tavecchio, but Platini refused to be pushed on potential disciplinary measures.
“He said things which caused astonishment and disapproval, and Uefa decided to open an investigation so I should not comment further,” said Platini.