Webb: World Cup is perfect platform

21 May 2014 05:16

FIFA's chairman of the taskforce against racism and discrimination Jeffrey Webb is confident the World Cup can "send a clear message that football is for all".

Webb, president of CONCACAF and the Cayman Islands Football Association, was at Wembley on Tuesday evening to help mark the 20th anniversary of the Kick It Out campaign, which comes at a time when racism issues were again in the headlines after Barcelona defender Dani Alves ate a banana thrown onto the pitch during a La Liga game at Villarreal.

In his role with continental governing body CONCACAF, Webb is also vice-president of FIFA and is confident Brazil will provide the perfect environment for football to make positive headlines in the continuing battle against all forms of discrimination.

"Our goal is to promote a sport in which all equalities embrace diversity and bring universality to the game throughout the world. As we write history, we must stop and think what this means to us, to those who have come before us and more importantly to those who will follow," said Webb.

"The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be a perfect occasion to send a clear message to the world that football is for all.

"With its diverse society, Brazil will be the perfect hosts as (FIFA) president Joseph (Blatter) mentioned recently, this will be a World Cup against racism and all forms of discrimination.

"Football has the power to promote integration (and) endorse positive role models in society.

"This beautiful sport is filled with passion, and passion has the power to pave the way for deep change.

"There are diverse opinions of how to achieve these goals of integration and solidarity amongst the football family, national governing organisations and stakeholders is paramount.

"Let us all think how we can achieve this colossal challenge together.

"I am truly hopeful we will be able to remove the discrimination barriers which take the focus away from the beautiful game.

"We must continue to make a difference, continue to make a change."

Lord Herman Ouseley, who helped found the anti-discrimination group in 1993 and is now chair of Kick It Out, believes there is still plenty of work to be done in the drive for equality, with sexist comments by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore hitting the headlines in more recent days.

He said: "You have got to turn a negative into a positive, yes this has opened our eyes that there are issues here of process and governance, as well (as) sexism in the game.

"It is easy to say 'football is sexist', or 'football is racist', but what does that all mean?

"We are constructing the agenda and what are the things we need to do."

Source: PA