“We need to eliminate teams from a competition or deduct points,” said FIFA President Sepp Blatter, calling for tougher sanctions to tackle racism in football.
Speaking at the English Football Association’s 150th anniversary dinner in London, Blatter added: “Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination. If we don’t do that. it will go on and go on. We have to stop it; we need the courage to do it.”
“It has been decided by the FIFA congress that it is a nonsense for racism to be dealt with with fines. You can always find money from somebody to pay them,” Blatter continued. “It is a nonsense to have matches played without spectators because it is against the spirit of football and against the visiting team. It is all nonsense. We can do something better to fight racism and discrimination. This is one of the villains we have today in our game. But it is only with harsh sanctions that racism and discrimination can be washed out of football.”
Blatter’s comments came hours after FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb said he wanted to meet Manchester Ciry’s Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure to discuss his complaint about being racially abused by CSKA Moscow fans making monkey noises during the English Premier League’s club midweek Champions League victory over CSKA in Russia.
Charging CSKA with the “racist behaviour of their fans”, the UEFA European Football Union has also ordered an immediate investigation into failed protocol relating to the racism allegation after the Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan did not ask for an appeal for supporters to stop to be broadcast. UEFA said it would publish the findings of its investigation once the disciplinary case against CSKA had been dealt with by its independent control and disciplinary body.
Meanwhile, CSKA’s general director, Roman Babaev insisted his club are victims of a British smear campaign against Russian football. Quoted by the Daily Telegraph, he said: “The British do constantly try to find any reason to smear Russian football. It is totally possible that in this case we’re running into this same intention. I read the main English publications and they are raising a real hysteria. They are writing that the fans wanted to almost lynch the dark-skinned players on the field. And most journalists probably didn’t even watch the match.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.