FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the implementation of an automatic forfeit of games for teams whose fans commit racist abuse after the “totally abhorrent” incidents at Udinese and Sheffield Wednesday.

AC Milan’s players walked off the pitch after France international goalkeeper Mike Maignan reported hearing monkey noises coming from a section of the crowd at the Stadio Friuli.

Coventry’s Kasey Palmer said he received similar abuse similar abuse at Hillsborough and their 2-1 win was stopped for several minutes while the match officials spoke to both managers.

Milan’s players eventually returned to secure a 3-2 victory in added time but Infantino said there should be harsher punishments.

“As well as the three-step process (match stopped, match re-stopped, match abandoned), we have to implement an automatic forfeit for the team whose fans have committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists,” he said in a FIFA post on X.

“FIFA and football shows full solidarity to victims of racism and any form of discrimination. Once and for all: No to racism! No to any form of discrimination!

“The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable. The players affected by Saturday’s events have my undivided support.

“We need ALL the relevant stakeholders to take action, starting with education in schools so that future generations understand that this is not part of football or society.”

Maignan said something had to change as racist abuse has been part of football for too long.

“This shouldn’t exist in the world of football, but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence,” he told Milan TV after confirming he heard fans making monkey noises.

“With all the cameras present and sanctions for these things, something must be done to change things.

“We all have to react, we must do something because you can’t play like this.”

Milan and city rivals Inter have both publicly supported Maignan, Serie A said it “condemns all forms of racism”, while France striker Kylian Mbappe said “enough is enough”.

“You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you. Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough. NO TO RACISM,” Mbappe posted on X.

Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright applauded the “solidarity” in the Milan side and urged teams to “keep walking off” when they hear abuse and called for stronger sanctions.

He wrote on X: “We did ‘playing through it’ and nothing has changed. Points deductions needed, the fines are pointless.”

However, Coventry midfielder Palmer admitted he was sceptical things would change in the game, also writing on X: “Racism is a disgrace… it has no place in the world, let alone football.

“I’m black and proud and I am raising my three kids to be the exact same. I’ll be honest, it feels like things will never change, no matter how hard we try.

“Couple fans doing monkey chants don’t define a fan base – I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.”

Coventry owner Doug King and manager Mark Robins condemned the abuse and offered their full support to Palmer, while Sheffield Wednesday said they were “shocked and saddened” by the alleged incident and anyone found culpable will face “the strictest possible sanctions from both Sheffield Wednesday and the law”.

Saudi Arabia's emergence as the sole bidder to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup is no surprise and could be part of a major power shift to affect football in the next few years.

That is the view of sports finance expert Dan Plumley, who also says FIFA will find it difficult to avoid political questions when Saudi oil company Aramco becomes the governing body's highest-paying sponsor.

FIFA confirmed in October that Saudi Arabia was the only country to submit a bid to host the 2034 World Cup before the deadline, making a second tournament in the Gulf a mere formality.

The announcement came less than a year after the 2022 tournament was held in Qatar, a decision which was roundly criticised due to the country's poor human rights record and criminalisation of same-sex relationships. 

Saudi Arabia's bid to host football's most iconic tournament comes after the state's Public Investment Fund took direct control of four Saudi Pro League clubs, attracting big names including Karim Benzema, Neymar and Sadio Mane to a league which already contained Cristiano Ronaldo.

Plumley foresees the country emerging as a football powerhouse over the next decade, with the World Cup playing a major role in that vision.

"I don't think it's a surprise, I think that you can see the power shift, the dynamics changing in world football," he told Stats Perform of the 2034 bid.

"We've obviously seen it off the back of the recent Qatar World Cup, and you could see the narrative of Saudi Arabia's direction of travel with what they're doing with the Saudi Pro League.

"[It's] linked to their Vision 2030 project as a country and how they're trying to pivot away from oil and look at other ways to generate revenue in the future, on top of the World Cup being – alongside the Olympics – the biggest sporting event on the planet. 

"It's quite clear that was always going to be in their sights. I don't see that as any real surprise.

"I think there's a long waiting time now: when you look at the plans they've got for the Saudi Pro League, and couple that with hosting a World Cup, there's a lot of ifs. 

"But we could be looking at a significant power shift in world football in six to 10 years' time."

Just a few weeks after Saudi Arabia emerged as the sole 2034 bidder, it was reported that the nation's state-owned petroleum company Aramco was set to become FIFA's largest single sponsor, which critics have suggested amounts to a conflict of interest.

Asked about the prospective deal, Plumley said: "This is a much wider question around the governance of the sport, and I think you can draw some parallels to the situation in English football with the independent regulator.

"Part of the reason for the independent regulator is because people have not been happy with the Premier League being self-governing, being judge, jury and executioner.

"But that same kind of conversation is happening at UEFA levels, and it's been happening at FIFA levels for a number of years. 

"They are the ultimate governing body of world football. In that regard, it's very difficult to do anything else within the governance framework, because that's where we stop. 

"People will always draw parallels to the companies connected with that, and the way in which event hosting is done, where the World Cups are going and who the sponsors are. 

"There's been numerous conversations about that throughout history, it's now just positioned in a slightly different way because we're in slightly different territory.

"You can't avoid the politics of it, whether we like to or not. It's much bigger now than football and I think that's what you keep coming back to, [the fact that] there's a lot going on in the market that transcends the game on the pitch."

Luis Rubiales is a "caveman" who must be forced to resign as president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) following his conduct at the Women's World Cup final, says former Italy striker Carolina Morace.

Rubiales has been widely criticised for his behaviour following Spain's 1-0 win over England in Sydney, having grabbed and kissed Roja star Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the celebrations. 

Hermoso said she "didn't like" the kiss during an Instagram live broadcast from inside the dressing room, and FIFA has since opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales – who was also seen grabbing his crotch while stood next to Spain's Queen Letizia and her daughter.

Rubiales was expected to announce his departure at a press conference on Thursday, only to refuse to resign during an extraordinary speech.

"A social assassination is being carried out, they are trying to kill me. For the last five years, I have suffered persecution," Rubiales said, adding: "A consensual peck is enough to get me out of here?"

In a joint statement released later on Friday, Spain's World Cup winners said they would not play any games while Rubiales remained in post, increasing the pressure on him to leave. 

Morace – who scored over 100 goals for Italy before managing the team between 2000 and 2005 – was repulsed by Rubiales' behaviour, telling Stats Perform: "I saw a caveman in the stands with attitudes that we in women's football don't want to have. Let him keep those for the men's football. 

"I think everyone distanced themselves from the attitude he had. I'm sorry that there have been people who have started to say, 'but the player has not reported it, so maybe it's a loving gesture'. 

"Her first reaction was disgust. Of course then the president went there to talk to her and tell her what to do. 

"Then when the whole controversy came out, Hermoso went back to saying certain things. Let's say she is free again. It was so clear that things went that way. 

"There are also people who defended him. No way. I'm happy because Spain is a serious country and therefore politicians have reacted in a certain way. 

"Now if this president doesn't resign, I hope the sponsors distance themselves from the team and from what's happening, but I think he will be forced to resign."

This is not the first controversy to rock women's football in Spain. Last year, a group of 15 players refused to represent La Roja under head coach Jorge Vilda, who was supported by the RFEF and subsequently took just three of the rebels to the World Cup. 

Some reports alleged Spain's players were forbidden from locking their doors at hotels ahead of games, which Morace views as another sign of outdated attitudes prevailing at the RFEF.

"There have also been attitudes from the coach who expects the girls from Spain to sleep with the door open," Morace added. "This is madness. It is normal that he had 15 players against him. 

"I would never ask my players to keep their doors open. How dare you? I mean, those aren't 12-year-old girls. They are adults and keeping the doors open means you can come in whenever you want."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also attracted criticism for telling female players to "pick the right battles" and "convince" men of the validity of claims for equal pay last week. 

For attitudes towards women's football to be modernised, Morace believes more women must assume roles at the top of the game.

She added: "There were women of a certain type in FIFA who no longer work in FIFA, like Tatjana Haenni who has now become responsible for the American professional league, and Mayi Blanco who is also responsible for events. 

"In my opinion we went back 10 years by sending them home, we had to start again from there. That was a good starting point, now we're back. Now Infantino has to tell us what we have to do. 

"He must choose the right people to make a movement grow, but they must be people who are inside the movement and who believe in the movement, not people taken from outside and brought in."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino feels equal pay at the Men’s and Women’s World Cups would only be a “symbol” that would not “solve anything” if additional development targets for the women’s game are not achieved.

On Sunday, England will play Spain in the final for their share of an increased prize pot of 110 million US dollars (£86.1m) for this tournament, more than three times than what was on offer for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, but still significantly less than the 440 million USD (£346m) awarded at the 2022 men’s competition in Qatar.

Infantino has previously outlined ambitions for prize parity by the 2026 and 2027 World Cups but two days before the conclusion of the ninth edition of the women’s showpiece, challenged stakeholders to do more.

Infantino said: “Let’s really go for a full equality. Not just equal pay in the World Cup, which is a slogan that comes up every now and then. Equal pay in the World Cup, we are going in that direction already.

“But that would not solve anything. It might be a symbol but it would not solve anything, because it’s one month every four years and it’s a few players out of the thousands and thousands of players. We need to keep the momentum. We need to push it. We need to go for equality but we have to do it for real.”

Two months before the tournament, Infantino threatened that he may be “forced not to broadcast” the World Cup in Europe’s ‘big five’ countries following what he felt were “very disappointing and simply not acceptable” offers from broadcasters, though deals were eventually done.

Viewing figures have broken records in Australia, where a peak 11.5 million people – about 46 per cent of the population – tuned in to watch the Matildas play England in their semi-final, the country’s most-watched television programme of any kind since 2001 when the existing rating system was established.

Back at home, the 7.3 million people who viewed the same contest on BBC One comprised the biggest UK audience of the World Cup so far, and on Friday Infantino reiterated his view that broadcasters have a part to play in the prize parity target.

The 2023 tournament was expanded to 32 teams, and is also the first time the competition has been hosted by more than one country.

Infantino said: “Some voices were raised, where it cost too much, we don’t make enough revenues, we will have to subsidise.

“And our opinion was, well if we have to subsidise, we will subsidise, because we have to do that.

“But actually, this World Cup generated over 570 million US dollars in revenues, and so we broke even. We didn’t lose any money and we generated the second highest income of any sport, besides of course the men’s World Cup, at a global stage. More than half a billion (in revenues).”

The decision to include more teams initially drew scepticism that it would only highlight the disparity between lower-ranked teams and heavily-resourced nations at the top of the table.

Instead, this has been one of the most competitive finals on record, guaranteed a new champion after 2011 champions Japan were eliminated at the quarter-final stage, one round after double-defending title holders the United States were sent packing in the last-16.

World number four England managed just one goal against tournament debutants Haiti, 49 places below them in FIFA’s world rankings, while fellow debutants Morocco advanced to the last-16 alongside Jamaica, who were knocked out in the group stage in their only other appearance in a final.

Three top-10 sides in Germany, Canada and Brazil were eliminated in the group stage, while England’s quarter-final opponents Colombia advanced to the last eight for the first time.

And while breakout performances at this World Cup could lead some players to more lucrative contracts in places like Europe and the United States, FIFA’s most recent benchmarking report revealed the average league and club salaries for women worldwide was just 14,000 dollars (£11,000).

Infantino demanded: “Football in general, in all the leagues and all the competitions, pay a fair price. Show that you respect women and women’s sport. You will see the feedback that will be absolutely fantastic.

“We need to have more local competitions, more continental competitions, more international competitions because when you see some of the beautiful, stories that were written at this World Cup.

“We need to create the conditions in the next four years for them to able to play at professional level at home. This is the biggest challenge we have to take onboard.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino condemned racist chants from Juventus fans towards Inter striker Romelu Lukaku during their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

Lukaku scored a penalty in stoppage time to earn visitors Inter a 1-1 draw in Turin on Tuesday, duly celebrating by holding a finger to his lips in front of Juve supporters as a response to abuse.

The celebration was deemed provocative and the Belgian was sent off for a second bookable offence, with the incident leading to a confrontation between the two sets of players.

Lukaku released a statement on Wednesday demanding action from Italian authorities, which has been widely supported by other big names in the football world.

Infantino labelled the chants "unacceptable" and called for those responsible to be punished.

Infantino said: "Football has no place for racism or any form of discrimination.

"It is simply unacceptable to see the racist abuse aimed by spectators at Inter forward Romelu Lukaku during the Coppa Italia match at Juventus in Turin.

"FIFA and I stand with Romelu Lukaku, just as we do with any other player, coach, match official, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism or any other form of discrimination.

"Victims of those abuses must be supported, and the perpetrators duly punished by all authorities.

"I repeat the call made earlier this year for fans to stand up and silence the racists.

"Equally, in football, we need to ensure that strict sporting sanctions are applied to address such incidents and to serve as a deterrent."

In Lukaku's message earlier in the day, he was keen to highlight how such incidents are recurring rather than isolated.

"History repeats. [I've] been through it in 2019 and [now in] 2023 again," he said via Instagram.

"I hope the league really take actions for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone.

"Thank you for the supportive messages. F*** racism."

His message has received support from the likes of Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe wrote on Instagram: "2023 and still the same problems. But we are not going to let you get away with it."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has set a target for prize money at the 2027 Women's World Cup to be equal to payouts at the men's tournaments.

Infantino, who was re-elected at Thursday's FIFA congress after running unopposed, also denied there is a deal for Visit Saudi to sponsor the 2023 Women's World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

The prize money for the 2023 World Cup is set to be $150million (£124m), a rise of 300 per cent from the 2019 tournament, with the number of competing teams increasing to 32 from 24.

The 2022 men's World Cup in Qatar involved prize money totalling $440m (£365m).

Infantino said that "broadcasters and sponsors have to do more" and be willing to pay more into the women's tournament, adding: "FIFA is receiving between 10 and 100 times less from public broadcasters for the women's World Cup than the men's World Cup. Do you think that is normal?

"At the same, these public broadcasters who are paid by the taxpayers' money, they criticise FIFA, a bit less the others, for not guaranteeing equal pay to men and women.

"You pay us 100 times less but your viewing figures are very similar, maybe 20-25 per cent less, not 100 per cent less. Well offer us 20 per cent less or 50 per cent less, but not 100 per cent less. How can we do it, otherwise?"

Regarding reports Saudi Arabia's tourism arm was due to sponsor this year's tournament, which sparked concern from football authorities in Australia and New Zealand, Infantino confirmed talks had taken place but said a deal was not reached.

"I can clarify that there were discussions with Visit Saudi," the FIFA president said. "At the end, this discussion didn't lead into a contract. How do you say it? It was a storm in a water glass. A storm in a teacup."

Infantino expressed his belief there had not been as much backlash around trade deals between Saudi Arabia, which has been criticised for alleged human rights violations, and Australia.

"This doesn't seem to be a problem," Infantino said. "But between a global organisation like FIFA and Visit Saudi this would have been an issue. There is a double standard here, which I really don't understand."

He added: "There is no issue and no contract. There are discussions and of course we want to see how we can involve Saudi sponsors in women's football generally, how we can involve Saudi sponsors in men football, or we can involve Qatari sponsors in women's football and men's football, and all other sponsors from all over the world."

The chief executive of Football Australia, James Johnson, was pleased to hear Infantino's comments, saying: "Equality, diversity and inclusion are really deep commitments for Football Australia, and we'll continue to work hard with FIFA to ensure the Women's World Cup is shaped in this light."

Gianni Infantino believes there should be "way more" football as he defended FIFA's expansion of the World Cup and new Club World Cup proposal.

Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president at the FIFA Congress on Thursday after running unopposed.

FIFA confirmed earlier this week that the 2026 World Cup will consist of 48 teams, up from 32, split into 12 groups of four, while plans were also confirmed for an expanded Club World Cup containing 32 teams.

Speaking at the Congress in Rwanda, Infantino said: "When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere. In fact, in most parts of the world there is not enough football played.

"We need way more and not less competitions, we want football to develop worldwide.

"We are discussing organising a women's Club World Cup and a FIFA World Series in March every two years, when teams are free from playing qualifiers."

He also later pointed to the English football calendar as well as the Super Cup tournaments in Italian and Spanish football, believing that there is less criticism of others from the media than there is of FIFA, which was a theme of the president's closing remarks.

Infantino also addressed previous controversial comments he believed had been falsely reported, including at the World Cup where he accused reporters of racism for criticising the host country of Qatar.

"I think I called racists those who were qualifying fans who had different skin colour of fans who were cheering European teams as not real fans, that's when I used the word 'racist', and I stick to that," he said.

He had also appeared to compare his refusal to give up on becoming FIFA president with Rwandan genocide in his opening remarks on Thursday, but was quick to quash this suggestion when it was put to him by The Athletic's Matt Slater at the closing press conference.

"I find it really incredible that you can interpret what I say as making an association with one of the most terrible tragedies that happened with anything that happened in my life," he said.

"I would never make a comparison with a tragedy and my life. What I want to say is that this country is so inspiring for so many people that when we come with our little problems, we should just be a bit more humble about things. That's all that I said."

The German Football Association (DFB) has announced it will not support Gianni Infantino's re-election as FIFA president.

Infantino is set to be re-elected at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Rwandan capital Kigali on Thursday after no challengers came forward to stand against him in the leadership race.

However, despite Infantino having a clear run at another term in charge, Germany have joined a select few nations to publicly declare they do not back the decision.

The DFB added in a statement on Wednesday that it has contacted FIFA in recent weeks on a matter of issues but has received no reply or only insufficient information.

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said: "The DFB will not support the re-election of FIFA president Gianni Infantino in Kigali. 

"We have received little to no substantial information from FIFA in response to several inquiries from our part in recent weeks, especially on contentious issues. 

"However, we can expect FIFA to take the concerns of its member associations seriously and address them. 

"FIFA should become much more transparent and open in its dealings with the national associations."

Neuendorf has previously criticised FIFA for its attempts to restrict teams' political protests at the Qatar World Cup, but he hopes for a positive outcome in future discussions.

"It is in its own interests to explain how and why certain decisions are made and who is involved in them. This has not been the case of late," he said.

"Nevertheless, there was a constructive exchange between several European member associations and the FIFA president on contentious issues today. 

"We therefore remain hopeful that this will lead to an improvement in our cooperation in the future.

"I am interested in maintaining a critical and constructive cooperation with FIFA, in particular with its president, and hope that this can be realised in the coming years."

Infantino succeeded Sepp Blatter as the president of world football governing body FIFA in February 2016.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino committed to avoiding conflict over OneLove armbands at the Women's World Cup, promising to "have a position in place well before" the tournament begins.

A number of national teams at the Qatar 2022 men's World Cup, including Denmark, England and Germany, were planning to support the campaign that promotes inclusivity and opposes all discrimination.

Their captains were intending to wear an armband bearing the OneLove logo, but the teams backed down when FIFA threatened sporting sanctions – expected to be a yellow card for the captains.

The decision to host the World Cup in Qatar attracted criticism due to the country's stance on same-sex relationships, as well as the treatment of migrant workers.

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the women's tournament in July and August of this year, and senior figures from both countries have questioned what they believe is FIFA's intention to have the Visit Saudi tourism authority as a tournament sponsor.

Like Qatar, Saudi Arabia's position on rights for women and LGBTQ+ people has also been called into question by human rights groups. Both countries have been accused by critics of 'sportswashing', the attempt to bolster their international reputations by becoming closely involved with sport at the highest level.

Infantino was asked about the OneLove armbands on Saturday, following a meeting of football law-makers the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

He said: "What I can say on this issue is I think we all went through a learning process there [at the Qatar World Cup].

"What we will try to do better this time is to search and look for dialogue with everyone involved – the captains, the federations, the players generally, FIFA – from all over the world to capture the different sensitivities, to explain, to exchange, and to see what can be done in order to express a position, a value or a feeling that somebody has without hurting anyone else.

"In a positive way, we are looking for a dialogue and we will have a position in place well before the Women's World Cup, I hope so."

Human rights group Amnesty International was among the bodies that poured scorn on FIFA's position in Qatar.

Infantino was also asked about FIFA's progress on reviewing its transgender eligibility policy.

The world governing body said last year it was looking again at its rules and receiving help from experts in the matter, which has been a matter of great contention across sport.

It remains to be seen whether players who identify as female but were born male will be allowed to play at the Women's World Cup.

Infantino said: "There is no update yet, but also there we want to be as clear as possible as soon as possible, not to leave it until the end. On all these topics we need to learn our lesson and be a bit faster."

FIFA has been criticised by a prominent former Australia footballer after appointing Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as a global fan ambassador ahead of the Women's World Cup.

Moya Dodd, a former member of the FIFA executive committee, said it was a "truly baffling" decision that was "tone deaf".

World governing body FIFA announced Lima's role on Monday, saying the 41-year-old would "develop, promote and participate in several global initiatives involving fans from all over the world!".

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness, and how approachable and passionate she is about our game. She lives and breathes 'futebol' and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide."

However, Dodd questioned why FIFA should choose a model who has been quoted talking about the professional benefits of crash-dieting in the past, and who in a 2006 GQ interview was reported as saying she considered abortion "a crime".

Dodd's initial response to FIFA's move was to write: "Seriously, #FIFA, is this the fan engagement ambassador we need as the @FIFAWWC approaches? #tonedeaf".

She posted that message on Twitter alongside a screenshot of Lima's Twitter profile, which features the model in a near-naked pose.

Dodd added: "#FIFA please say you’re not paying this supermodel more than the players get for being at the @FIFAWWC".

In a follow-up post on LinkedIn, Dodd added how she believed Lima's "public image", based on her Twitter profile pictures, "looked an odd fit for an organisation that says it wants to empower girls and women, and whose president is required to be 'a vanguard' for promoting gender equality".

Dodd went on to say: "I asked whether the FIFA ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, wellbeing and healthy eating; or on a woman's right to choose?

"And it made me wonder: what will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational #womensfootball players and fans who love the game because it shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?

"Because when a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. Instead of being complimented on her nice looks or her pretty dress, she is valued for her game-saving tackles and brilliant goal-scoring.

"She's admired for what she can DO, rather than how she looks, putting her on a more equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the whole trajectory of her life's ambitions."

Dodd added that, given this is a World Cup year: "That's the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a super-model fits into this is truly baffling."

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the Women's World Cup in July and August, and there have already been concerns and complaints raised in both countries about the prospect of the Visit Saudi tourism authority being reportedly lined up by FIFA as a major sponsor of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia has faced criticism from human rights groups over its attitudes towards women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Just Fontaine has been hailed as an "eternal goalscorer" whose mark on football "will forever be remembered" following his death at the age of 89.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Wednesday that Fontaine had passed away overnight in Toulouse.

A minute's applause will be held in tribute to Fontaine at all French football grounds this week, starting with Wednesday's Coupe de France ties.

In a statement on their official website, the FFF described Fontaine as "the eternal goalscorer" and "a legend of world football".

FFF interim president Philippe Diallo added: "The death of Just Fontaine plunges French football into deep emotion and immense sadness.

"He wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the French team."

Fontaine's greatest achievement came in 1958 when scoring 13 goals in just six matches for France at the World Cup as Les Blues went on to finish third.

That remains the highest number of goals scored in a single edition of the tournament, while his tally of 13 goals overall has been bettered by only three players in history.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "Just was a footballing icon and his tremendous performance in 1958 cemented his legacy as one of the greatest World Cup players ever.

"Scoring 13 goals in a single World Cup is a record which, to this day, has never been equalled. 

"The mark he left on world football will forever be remembered, and this record will probably never be beaten. My deepest condolences to Just's loved ones at this difficult time."

Fontaine scored 30 goals in 21 appearances for France between 1953 and 1960 in a career that was cut short by injury at the age of 28.

Current France head coach Didier Deschamps said: "The loss of Just Fontaine saddens me, as it will inevitably sadden all those who love football and our national team. 

"'Justo' is and will remain a legend of the France team.

"As a player and then coach, I had the chance to meet him on several occasions.

"In particular at his home, in Toulouse, in September 2017. He was a man of great kindness, very respectful of generations that succeeded his with Les Bleus. 

"His attachment to the France team was strong and sincere."

At club level, Fontaine won the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 with Nice before joining Reims.

He won three more league titles with Reims, the Coupe de France and was twice victorious in the Trophee des Champions, while also reaching the 1958-59 European Cup final.

"A star of French football, an outstanding striker, a legendary Reims player," his former club said in a statement.

Fontaine scored 164 goals in 200 Ligue 1 matches.

He reached the 100-goal mark in the competition by the age of 24 years and eight months, which only Herve Revelli (23y 5m) and Kylian Mbappe (22y 3m) have bettered.

Fontaine later moved into coaching and took charge of Paris Saint-Germain, Toulouse and the Morocco national side.

During his time with PSG, he guided the club to their only promotion to Ligue 1 – they have not been relegated since.

"A thought for Just Fontaine. An icon of French football who has left us," PSG tweeted.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called on football fans to "stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all" after Samuel Umtiti and Lecce team-mate Lameck Banda were subjected to abuse.

Lecce's 2-1 comeback win over Lazio at Stadio Via del Mare on Wednesday was overshadowed by a section of Lazio fans in the away end aiming racist abuse towards Umtiti and Banda.

The match was halted for several minutes by referee Livio Marinelli and a message was played over the announcer system warning the match would not resume if the chants continued.

Home supporters chanted Umtiti's name in solidarity and he asked for the match to resume, but the Barcelona loanee reportedly left the field in tears at full-time.

"Umtiti asked for the game to resume because he wanted to respond to the insults he received on the pitch. He reacted like a true champion," Lecce president Saverio Sticchi Damiani said after the match.

Lecce condemned the racist abuse in a statement on Wednesday and Umtiti posted a message of his own on social media that read: "Only football, fun, joy. The rest doesn't count."

Umtiti received supportive replies from the likes of Jerome Boateng, Naby Sarr and Alexandre Lacazette, while FIFA chief Infantino also offered his backing for the centre-back and Zambia international Banda.

"Solidarity with Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda – let's shout it loud and clear: No to racism," he wrote alongside photos of Umtiti and Banda in action.

"May the huge majority of fans, who are good people, stand up and shut up all the racists once and for all."

The unsavoury incident came on the first day of Serie A action following a near-two-month break for the World Cup.

Lecce's victory, secured thanks to goals from Gabriel Strefezza and Lorenzo Colombo after Ciro Immobile had given Lazio the lead, moved them up to 12th in Serie A.

Gianni Infantino is "dismayed" at being criticised for taking a selfie in view of Pele's coffin at the Brazil legend's wake on Monday.

The only man to win the World Cup three times, Pele's death was announced last Thursday at the age of 82 after a battle with cancer, having been moved to palliative care in early December.

A 24-hour wake started on Monday with Pele's coffin on the pitch at the Vila Belmiro stadium, home of his beloved Santos where he scored 643 goals in 659 matches between 1956 and 1974.

Infantino was pictured taking a selfie with Pele's former team-mates just metres from his coffin, and the FIFA president has subsequently come under fire.

However, Infantino does not understand the negative perception of his actions, saying on Instagram: "Just landed from my trip to Brazil where I had the privilege to participate in the beautiful homage to Pele that took place at Vila Belmiro, in Santos.

"I am dismayed after having been informed that I am apparently being criticised by some people for having taken a selfie and pictures at the ceremony yesterday [Monday].

"I would like to clarify that I was both honoured and humbled that team-mates and family members of the great Pele asked me if I could take a few photos with them. And obviously I immediately agreed.

"In the case of the selfie, Pele's team-mates asked to do a selfie of all of us together but they didn't know how to do it. So, to be helpful, I took the photo of one of them and took the photo of all of us for him.

"If being helpful to a team-mate of Pele creates criticism I'm happy to take it and will continue to be helpful wherever I can to those having contributed to write legendary pages of football.

"I have so much respect and admiration for Pele and for that ceremony yesterday [Monday] that I would never do anything that would be disrespectful in any way whatsoever."

Gianni Infantino has asked each country to name one stadium after Pele in a tribute to the Brazil great.

Pele, the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player, passed away last week aged 82.

Brazil entered a national period of mourning after Pele's death.

Pele's coffin was placed in the centre circle at Urbano Caldeira Stadium in Sao Paulo, the home of his former club Santos, and FIFA president Infantino was in attendance on Monday.

"We are going to ask that all countries in the world have at least one stadium with the name of Pele," Infantino told reporters in Brazil.

"[This will be] so that children know Pele's importance [to the game of football]."

Naming a sporting venue after a former player is not an uncommon occurrence, with such examples as Hungary's Puskas Arena and the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

However, it is more unusual for a venue to be named for a player outside their native country, though again not implausible.

Serie A side Napoli renamed their home ground the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in memory of the Argentina great following his death in 2020.

South Korea's Gwangju World Cup Stadium meanwhile was named after Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who took the nation to a fourth-place finish at the 2004 World Cup.

Pele, whose 77 goals for Brazil stands as a joint record, is set to be laid to rest on Tuesday.

Pele leaves a legacy "impossible to summarise in words" but FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes the Brazil great "achieved immortality" after his death on Thursday.

Sao Paolo's Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital confirmed multiple organ failure as the cause of death for the three-time World Cup winner, who many consider to be the greatest footballer of all time.

The Santos legend had been battling colon cancer, with his family travelling to join him earlier in December after being moved into palliative care when his body stopped responding to treatment.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Nazario and Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to the 82-year-old before Infantino joined a plethora of players, clubs and sporting organisations to offer their kind recollections.

"For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pele," Infantino wrote in a statement published by FIFA.

"'O Rei' [The King] was unique in so many ways. He was the only player to have won the World Cup three times and his skill and imagination were incomparable.

"Pele did things that no other player would even dream of, such as the famous dummy in the 1970 World Cup semi-final that became known as the Pele run-around.

"Or the goal he scored in the 1958 World Cup final as a 17-year-old when he flicked the ball over a defender and volleyed it into the net.

"The sight of him punching the air in celebration is one of the most iconic in our sport, and is etched into our history.

"In fact, because televised football was still in his infancy at the time, we only saw small glimpses of what he was capable of."

Pele, who scored 643 goals in 659 matches for Santos over an 18-year period, helped Brazil to World Cup success in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – no player in the tournament's history has won it more often.

He remains the youngest player to ever win the competition and the youngest to score in the final after achieving the remarkable feat when he was just 17 years and 249 days old. 

His 77-goal international haul still stands as a Brazilian record despite Neymar matching the benchmark in Qatar with a quarter-final strike against Croatia, leading Infantino to hail Pele's legacy.

"Most importantly, 'The King' rose to the throne with a smile on his face. Football could be brutal in those days, and Pele was often on the receiving end of some rough treatment," he continued.

"But, while he knew how to stand up for himself, he was always an exemplary sportsman, with genuine respect for his opponents. I had the great privilege of meeting him on several occasions.

"The moments spent with him will forever remain in my memory and in my heart. Pele had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped.

"His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.

"To his family and friends, to CBF [the Brazilian Football Confederation], to Brazil and to all football fans who loved him so much, I express my sincere condolences.

"Today, we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our dear Pele, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and therefore he will be with us for eternity."

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