European Leagues President says 'collective punishment' not answer to tackling racism

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LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (OCTOBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN LEAGUES PRESIDENT LARS-CHRISTER OLSSON, ON RACISM, SAYING:

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"We have had the problems in Sweden, we had problems with violence in the stands, we had problems with discrimination and bad behaviour among the spectators and we created a co-operation together with the fans organisations in Sweden, and we have got rid of... there is no discrimination. There is no violence. We have problems with pyrotechnics but not the other parts of misbehaving, and I think that kind of treatment is more successful than beefing up the punishment by closing sections or closing stadiums. In all countries I think you have to identify those who are causing the problem and take them out of the stadium, not collective punishment by closing stands or closing stadiums unless it's really serious."

2. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS / OLSSON SITTING NEXT TO EUROPEAN LEAGUES DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ALBERTO COLOMBO

STORY: European Leagues chairman Lars-Christer Olsson said racism in the sport is best tackled without resorting to 'collective punishment', instead looking to get fan groups and local authorities included in the fight against it.

Racism has long been a blight on European soccer, with racist incidents during matches reported sporadically and abuse levelled at players on social media.

In the latest high-profile incident, Bulgarian soccer chief Borislav Mihaylov resigned on Tuesday (October 15) after fans taunted England's black players with Nazi salutes and monkey chants during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia, prompting match officials to halt the game twice.

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