Michel Platini's Insistence on Having Officials Dealing with Racism: Is It Fair?

Michael KohCorrespondent IIIJune 7, 2012

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 06:  In this handout image provided by UEFA, UEFA President Michel Platini attends the UEFA 2012 Kick-Off RESPECT Campaign official launch press conference at  Warsaw National Stadium on June 06, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Philippe Woods/UEFA via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Reports from countless sources outline UEFA president Michel Platini's decision on racism on the pitch. 

Platini wants players to know that if they are to respond to racial slurs—in any way or form—by walking off the pitch, they would be shown the yellow card. 

Instead, he wants the players to walk up to the referee—or any official—and report it (according to Reuters).

I don't know if you've ever experienced slurs of this nature, but just telling someone about it won't stop it.

I understand what Platini is doing—protecting the players—but his approach to presenting the solution leaves a lot to be desired.

Per CNN:

"It is a referee's job to stop the match, and he is to do so if there are any problems of this kind. I count on the fans from Western and Eastern Europe to come to participate in a great football feast. If I am here as a UEFA chairman and you all are here it is because we want this to be a football feast, not a problem.

"Referees have a protocol so they know what they have to do. The match director, who is responsible for each match, knows what has to be done on the field of play."

If it happens on the pitch, it is a problem, Mr. Platini. 

Referees have the power to stop or abandon matches if such an issue were to rear its ugly head while a match was in progress. Okay, so the match gets abandoned and fans trickle out into the streets. They're disgruntled. They wanted a game, but some jerk wouldn't shut up. What's going to happen then?

What about when the match is played at a different date—wouldn't the same thing happen again?

We've all read Italian striker Mario Balotelli's comments regarding racism (from the BBC), but Platini has stood firm, abiding by the rules of the game, that a player cannot leave the pitch unless allowed by the referee. That's fair, but this may be a special circumstance. 

BBC's documentary, Stadium of Hate, has been heavily criticized by the Polish and Ukrainian government, calling it "sensationalist journalism." Yes, it might have been so, but that does not dismiss the hateful racial signs and chants and the severity of hooliganism documented in the film. 

Of course, Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych said (via the BBC), “We have a list of people who behaved aggressively at football matches. Their numbers are tiny, they are known to us and preventive measures will be taken."

Platini has offered an answer, but no solution to the problem. From Reuters:

"I don't think there's any more racism in Poland and Ukraine than in France or anywhere else, or even in England. It's not a footballing problem. It's a problem for society. It's the states that need to take charge of this."

A football feast that leaves a lot to be desired—so much, in fact, that families of two English footballers won't be joining in the "festivities." If it indeed is the problem of the states—the society—then why is the tournament taking place in two countries that have since been highlighted as a hotbed of racist activities?

What do you think should be protocol? Should the players be able to leave the pitch if abused by "fans"?