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Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Uefa in racism clampdown
England striker Emile Heskey fights for the ball
Heskey was taunted by more than 20,000 Slovakia fans
Uefa has threatened to introduce suspensions of up to three years on people found guilty of racist abuse - but has stopped short of imposing life bans.

Europe's governing body has come under severe criticism from some quarters in the past week for not dealing with the problem seriously enough.

England internationals Emile Heskey and Ashley Cole were subjected to racist abuse in the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia last weekend.


We should ban racist fans for a certain period of time
Uefa chief executive Gerhard Aigner

Heskey has also been targeted when playing for Liverpool in the Champions League this season.

"Punishment for life is a definite thing and doesn't give any chance of anyone correcting their way of behaving," said Uefa chief executive Gerhard Aigner.

"I think yes we should be firm, we should ban them for a certain period of time.

"We are talking about years; a season, two seasons, three seasons depending on the seriousness of the case."

Aigner said the inquiry into the abuse the Heskey and Cole suffered was ongoing.

England international Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole was also targeted in Slovakia

"We are at the moment putting together all the evidence that is available," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"There seems to be more evidence than we had in other other cases. All possibilities are open.

"We can only base (the punishment) on the evidence that we are being given.

"Although players or officials may have made declarations to the media after the game when it comes to witnessing and providing evidence there is little response.

"So we cannot just base it on media reports."

Aigner added that it was not only the football authorities that had to take action.

"We will do what we have done in the past and hope that the government and the police forces will continue to support us," he said.

"But we also have to acknowledge there seems to be a lack of education among young people in society."


Judgement day

Slovakia madness

Football's ugly face
Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.


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