Michail Antonio calls for FA to dock points for racist abuse

Growing issue

West Ham United midfielder Michail Antonio has suggested that the Football Association start to dock clubs points or make them play games behind closed doors if their supporters are guilty of racist abuse.

The issue of racism has been brought to the forefront of discussions in English football this season, with plenty of incidents involving racial abuse across the season.

It was first brought to national attention after Chelsea gave four supporters lifetime bans after they were seen racially abusing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling in their meeting at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.

Sterling has been proactive in highlighting the issue, having compared the national media’s contrasting coverage of stories involving black and white footballers and the use of their money on his Instagram page.

Raheem Sterling

Stamping it out

The latest incident saw Liverpool's Mohamed Salah targeted by a West Ham supporter during their clash at the London Stadium earlier this month, after he was abused for his faith in Islam.

West Ham have since pledged to ban the supporter for life after also handing evidence to the Police, though Hammers player Antonio believes more needs to be done to stamp racism out of the game altogether.

He feels fines will only do so much to combat the issue and that more extreme measures that will impact people on a wider scale is the next step to take.

"Finding an individual does nothing," he said. "That one person, he gets banned for life but no-one has a picture of his face. He can get back into the stadium.

"If you start playing games behind closed doors and deducting points, then the problem is inside themselves, they're going to deal with it themselves.

"If you affect their team, the fans, his friends, are going to turn on him.

"I would blame the FA and Uefa because I don't feel like they're strict enough when it happens. If they want to hammer down on it next season, it could take five or 10 years.

"If they keep thinking of other solutions rather than just hitting it straight on the head, then it could take generations."

West Ham

Doing more

A recent Sky Sports survey revealed that 86% of people who regularly attend football matches have witnessed a racist incident whilst at a game, with that number also increasing to 93% for ethnic minority supporters.

"86% is quite high to be honest - I wouldn't have said 86," Antonio said in response to the released figures.

"I would have said more in the 40s but I put it down to ignorance more than anything else.

"I feel like it is getting worse but I'm not going to blame the English leagues.

"I would blame the FA and UEFA because I don't feel like they're strict enough when it happens. Racism can be stopped in football stadiums but it all depends on what the FA and UEFA want to do about it."