Footballers must be cautioned for putting hand over mouth, Seedorf says

April 14, 2021
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Football players should be immediately sanctioned if they cover their mouth while talking to an opponent or the referee, Clarence Seedorf has said.

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.

The suspension was issued “without prejudice” to any ruling the body might make on the racism allegations.

Seedorf is a former Netherlands international and four-time UEFA Champions League winner.

He told a Council of Europe meeting on combatting hate speech that stopping players covering their mouth 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,” he 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 sports, 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 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.”

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