Reezal: Kick out racism as football is meant to unite, not divide

PUTRAJAYA, 1 Mac -- Menteri Belia dan Sukan Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (kanan) menyempurnakan majlis pelancaran Liga Malaysia 2021 hari ini. Turut hadir President Liga Bola Sepak Malaysia (MFL) Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin (kiri). --fotoBERNAMA (2021) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA

PETALING JAYA: It’s time we stamped out racism in football.

This was the call made by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican when he urged football fans not to tarnish the sport’s image.

“I have one hope; to all Malaysian League fans, please maintain a high degree of discipline when supporting your beloved clubs. If possible, I do not want the league to be affected by bad elements, like racist chants or remarks on social media or even in stadiums, ” he said during the launch of the 2021 Malaysian League at the Zenith Hotel in Putrajaya yesterday.

“I hope the Malaysian Football League’s (MFL) ‘Red Card to Racism’ will be further strengthened in 2021. Not only on the field but on every platform, including social media.

“Football is meant to unite, not divide. I myself will be part of this campaign.”

In 2019 and 2020, racial abuse cases were rampant following complaints by several players, especially foreigners, after they were subjected to derogatory remarks by fans and officials.

Meanwhile, Reezal said he had high hopes that the MFL and stakeholders would work hand in hand to ensure that the league would be a benchmark in terms of obeying the standard operating procedures (SOP) and sports bubble.

“We must not take this for granted. Each and every one of us has a responsibility and role in ensuring that the league is run without any issues.

“The sports bubble is important in ensuring that we can have a Covid-free zone.

“If the bubble goes well, we can slowly bring back the fans.”

Reezal also revealed that he would take the Covid-19 vaccine in April with selected athletes preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics.

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