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FIFA president wants harsher punishment for football racism

Published: Updated:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter wants football teams kicked out of competitions if their fans hurl racial abuse, he said late Saturday.

He made the comments after British team Manchester City was supposedly subjected to racial abuse in Russia.

CSKA Moscow, the Russian capital’s club, is facing UEFA disciplinary action for its fans’ abuse on Wednesday of City midfielder Yaya Toure, with a partial stadium closure for the club’s next European match.

Blatter, who called for tougher anti-racism sanctions, championed by UEFA President Michel Platini, are not strong enough.

The measure of banning fans from stadiums, or fining national associations or teams is not the solution to eradicate racism from football, he added.

“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 said, during a gala dinner celebrating the 150th anniversary of the English Football Association.

“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.”

“What we shall do is be very tough, we need to eliminate teams from a competition or deduct points. Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination. If we don’t do that it will go on and on. We have to stop it. We need the courage to do it,” he added.

In January, AC Milan players had to walk off the field during an exhibition match against lower division club, Pro Patria, because of racist chants directed at several black Milan players.

The head of FIFA’s anti-racism task force and FIFA’s vice president, Jeffrey Webb, plans to meet Toure on Sunday.
In May, the FIFA Congress, approved much tougher penalties for serious racist abuse, including point deductions and relegation.

“We can do something better to fight racism and discrimination,” Blatter said Saturday.

“This is one of the villains we have today in our game but I'm sure, with the combined efforts of everybody we can go on, but it is only with harsh sanctions that racism and discrimination can be washed out of football,” he added.

(With the Associated Press)