Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

13.54 14 Apr 2021


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Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf is calling for players to be punished for covering their mouths when they speak to opposition and officials on the pitch.

The four-time Champions League winner says it would provide greater clarity for those investigating allegations of racism in game situations, and has called for the act to be a yellow card offence.

Seedorf - an 87-time Netherlands international - was speaking at a Council of Europe meeting which aims to combat hate speech.

Among several detailed ideas ranging from media coverage to empowering minorities in football, Seedorf says that one simple solution on the pitch would be to sanction players who cover their mouths to speak to opposition and officials.

It comes after the high-profile allegations of racism against Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela, during their meeting with Rangers in the Europa League last month.

Rangers' Glen Kamara alleged that Kudela racially abused him during the game, with the latter this afternoon hit with a 10-match UEFA ban.

Kudela had denied racially abusing Kamara, and had covered his mouth as he spoke to the Rangers midfielder.

"There is a lot of talk but not enough being done. The need is obvious and very urgent," Clarence Seedorf said.

"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?

"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," he said.


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