In the fight against increasing racism in European stadiums, racism researcher Lorenz Narku Laing believes that stadium bans or even prison sentences are of little use.

He recommends that the sports associations offer seminars to the perpetrators: “It’s not just about expulsions, more police in stadiums and bans, but it’s about more empathy, more fairness, more togetherness, forgiveness and actually an emotionally personal learning journey for people, who are behaving incorrectly,” said the professor at the Evangelical University of Bochum to the German Press Agency.

The Brazilian star striker Vinicius Junior from Real Madrid, who has often been the victim of racist hostility, called for harsh punishments via “We will only win if the racists leave the stadiums straight to prison, the place they deserve,” the 23-year-old wrote.

Researcher Laing, on the other hand, advocated preventative measures: “My dream is actually that a man who makes a racist insult in the corner will be told by those around him that it’s not possible. Then the case should be reported and this person should be reported by the sports association receive a seminar on the topic of racism so that he can really understand for himself what it means and how much it hurts people.”

Action match days, as recently organized by the German Football League, alone are not enough, said Laing: “These campaigns are of course an attempt to ensure that sport shows a clear attitude. And attitude is important, but not everything.” Racism has been “tolerated and almost normalized” in football for decades. Laing said that more severe penalties for the clubs could help: “We actually have to think about whether games should be canceled and judged to the detriment of the racist fan blocks.”