AC Milan legend Clarence Seedorf says players should be punished for covering their mouth when talking to an opponent or referee.
Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela covered his mouth when he allegedly racially abused Rangers opponent Glen Kamara during a Europa League tie last month.
Kudela denies racially abusing Kamara but has served a one-match UEFA ban after effectively admitting a lesser charge of insulting the Finn, with the suspension issued ‘without prejudice’ to any ruling the body might make on the racism allegations.
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Seedorf, a former Holland international and four-time Champions League winner, told a Council of Europe meeting on combatting hate speech that stopping players covering their mouths was a simple step which could be taken.
“There is a lot of talk but not enough being done. The need is obvious and very urgent.
“From a players’ perspective, I have seen stuff with players speaking and covering their mouth during matches. There were some racist situations in the last weeks or months where the players among themselves had hate speeches.
“Those things can be very easily attacked by implementing some rules. For me it should be abandoned to be able to speak like that when you approach an adversary.
“When we’re talking about sport it has to be completely transparent, so why would I cover my mouth if I need to talk with my adversary?”
Seedorf added: “If I want to (cover my mouth to) talk to my coach or a team-mate, all fine, but when I approach the referee or another player in any sport, you are not allowed to cover your mouth, it has to be a sanction, a yellow card.”
Seedorf also believes football’s leadership needs to be more reflective of society if it wants to tackle discrimination.
“I would like to see a reflection of what we’re fighting within those institutions (UEFA and FIFA).
“There is no equality, there is no inclusion whatsoever in the main organisations themselves. That’s where we need to start and lead by example.
“Then you have a much better position to ask other people to change.”