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Euro 2012: Players will be booked for walking off over racism, warns Platini

Players have been warned they will be yellow carded if they walk off the pitch after being racially abused at the European Championships.

Uefa president Michel Platini confirmed the rule preventing players from leaving the field without the referee's permission would stand — even if they are the victims of racism from the stands in Poland and Ukraine.

Mario Balotelli last week threatened to walk off if he suffered racist abuse during Italy's Euro 2012 games, but Platini said the Manchester City striker would be punished for doing so unless the officials stopped the game.

“It's a yellow card,” Platini said at the tournament's kick-off press conference in Warsaw.

“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

“So, the referee has been given advice and he can stop the game if there are problems.

“We will stop the game if there are problems because I think racism is the worst of this.”

Uefa's chief refereeing officer, Pierluigi Collina, insisted each of the qualified teams had been made aware of the process they should follow if one of their players were abused.

“Things are clear,” he said, confirming officials had also been fully briefed.

“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.”

Piara Powar, the executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), was confident Uefa would not hesitate to expel teams from the tournament if necessary.

“For us, the Uefa system is three strikes and you're out,” he said.

“Fine and then another fine and then a ban or forcing teams to play behind closed doors.

“If the system is in full effect, we could have a team kicked out of the competition for far-right banners.”

Belfast Telegraph