ENGLAND and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has called on Fifa to start deducting points from teams whose supporters chant racial or homophobic abuse at players.
Like most within the football fraternity, Ferdinand was furious that the Croatian FA was only fined Â£15 000 for the behaviour of their fans in the recent defeat to England in Zagreb.
Emile Heskey was the target of disgraceful chanting during Englandâ€™s 4-1 win.
It was the kind of crowd reaction that was supposed to have disappeared from English grounds.
Unfortunately, the abuse directed at Sol Campbell recently when Tottenham visited Portsmouth suggested otherwise.
But Ferdinand has had enough of minor punishments.
He feels Fifa should stop talking and start acting tough in a bid to drive away one of the main scourges in the game.
â€œThe football authorities need to look at themselves,â€™â€™ the England vice-captain told BBC Radio Five Live.
â€œSepp Blatter likes to speak up about things that are good for Fifaâ€™s image. I would love to see them stand up and dish out the right punishments for these incidents.
â€œThey make a lot of comments about what they are going to do but they never back up the words with actions.
â€œCroatia were fined a few thousand quid. What good is that going to do? That is not going to stop people shouting racist or homophobic abuse.
â€œIf things like this keep happening you have to take points off them.
â€œThen the punters will realise the team is going to be punished.â€™â€™
The FA are still investigating the Fratton Park incident, when Spurs fans vented their fury at Campbell, who controversially quit White Hart Lane for Arsenal in 2001.
History suggests the FA will not deal with the matter as leniently as Fifa appear to do, although Ferdinand is demanding more.
â€œThe high-tech cameras should be able to pick up the people who are doing that kind of stuff and eject them from the ground,â€™â€™ he said.
Ferdinand and his team-mates should not be side-tracked by such matters on Saturday when they anticipate the support of a sell-out 90 000 crowd at Wembley for the World Cup encounter with Group Six underdogs Kazakhstan.
The Manchester United man does not share Fabio Capelloâ€™s belief that the Three Lions find life easier away from their own ground as the high expectation levels sometimes stifle the England players.
However, the 30-year-old suggests the noise levels and sheer passion for their team is something English fans can learn from their Croatian counterparts, if not the unsavoury aspects of their support.
â€œI love playing at Wembley,â€™â€™ said Ferdinand.
â€œBut maybe the fans do get a bit agitated if we donâ€™t score inside the first 20 minutes.
â€œI would just ask them to get behind us and sing their hearts out.
â€œIf it is a real cauldron, like it is in Zagreb, that helps. No-one enjoys facing 90 000.â€™â€™
Ferdinand is keen to stress the improvement England have made since Capello succeeded Steve McClaren is gradual rather than spectacular.
Although some members of the Italianâ€™s squad are relishing their opportunities, Theo Walcott being an obvious example, Ferdinand prefers to take a lot of small steps as opposed to one gigantic leap which could end in disaster.
â€œIt is too much if people think of us as a completely different team to the one we were six months ago,â€™â€™ said Ferdinand. â€” soccernet.com