Thanks to the prevalence of racist incidents at domestic football matches in Poland and Ukraine, racism has been a hot topic in the build-up to Euro 2012. Italy's Mario Balotelli weighed in on the issue, saying he would simply walk off the pitch if he were subjected to racist abuse.
UEFA president Michel Platini, however, has insisted that Balotelli would have to stand there and take his racist abuse, or risk earning a yellow card for leaving the field. ESPN reports:
"It's a yellow card," Platini said at a Warsaw press conference dominated by the theme of racism.
"We'd certainly support the referee if he decided to stop the game. It's not a player, Mr Balotelli, who's in charge of refereeing. It's the referee who takes these decisions.
To be fair to Platini, any player who leaves the pitch without the referee's permission may be cautioned, but surely racist abuse represents an extenuating circumstance? To enforce the rule would effectively give fans the ability to get a player yellow carded — or even sent off — by abusing them, thus giving them a reward for their inappropriate behaviour.
Balotelli has never been afraid of getting a yellow card, but one would hope it doesn't have to come to that.