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African football chief against player walk offs in racist incidents

updated 2:32 PM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Africa football chief against player walk offs in racist incidents
  • Issa Hayatou - 'It's very bad for a player'
  • Hayatou demands stiffer penalties for racist behavior
  • He believes match fixing is an even bigger problem for FIFA

(CNN) -- The most powerful man in African football wants much tougher penalties for racist behavior but has told CNN that abused players should not take the law into their own hands and walk off.

Issa Hayatou, who is a member of FIFA's executive committee, said those responsible were "shaming the human race" but that whatever the provocation it was better to rise above it by showing quality on the football pitch.

"It might not be a solution to leave the field. It's a gut reaction really. It's very bad for a player," he said.

"You must play beautiful soccer and help your team score goals and this will show really the equality between white and black and it would put an end to the problem.

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"So I believe that to leave the field is not enough. It's better to stay, make more effort, resist this insult and show that you are capable of doing very good things."

Hayatou's remarks come in the aftermath of a walk off by AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng -- subjected to racist abuse while playing a friendly match against a lower division side in Italy.

He said he was sympathetic to Boateng's plight and wants far stiffer penalties to be applied.

"FIFA is doing a lot in order to get rid of racism in football and there are also international organizations, like the United Nations, who are also doing everything to get rid of racism. So what will we do?

Read: Blatter's controversial remarks on racism in football

"We will do everything. I believe only small fines are not enough. We need to find other punishments in order to deter these people who are shaming the human race," he added.

Hayatou has been president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1987 and unsuccessfully challenged Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA in 2002.

He wants the world governing body, led by Blatter, to take a "collective decision" to deal with the racism problem, but believes match fixing offers an even greater threat.

"It's just as negative as racism but I would say match fixing is even more negative because it's very, very bad and we mustn't know who is going to win," he said.

"So, for me, the worst thing in football is a match that is fixed."

Hayatou, 66, will be putting himself up for election for his seventh spell as CAF chief in Morocco next month, having overseen an Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa which was claimed by Nigeria with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in Sunday's final.

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