FC Girondins de Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra says UEFA's Respect campaign has come at the right time as the fight continues to rid the game of racism and intolerence.
The campaign was launched in March by UEFA President Michel Platini with the battle against social ills such as racism a key part of the initiative. "Yes, there's a need because we've seen examples recently of racist abuse in certain stadiums," French international Diarra said. "It's amazing it still happens these days in football, because modern football is a popular international sport in which all communities can come together. Sometimes people forget that, though, so I think the fact that UEFA are focusing on respect is a strong signal. Respect is a big word. It's about respect between players, between clubs, between supporters. It's an important thing in football. It's definitely an area we have to attach a lot of importance to. Respect means lots of things."
Diarra, 27, voiced his concern that racism still exists in the game. "I'm concerned about it, but I've never experienced it directly," he said. "I've been lucky not to have experienced things like that, because I think that for people who have it's always degrading, unpleasant and incomprehensible. It is a hard thing to understand, but I think it's a small minority. It doesn't concern supporters in general, because most supporters are there for the atmosphere, for the spectacle and for the game."
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