Blatter backtracks on racism sanctions

05 April 2013 01:17

FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday backtracked on his call to dock points or relegate football clubs whose fans are found guilty of racist abuse and violence.

"How far should we go? Where should we stop?" the boss of world football's governing body said at a meeting of the company Early Warning System, which monitors matches on FIFA's behalf to fight match-fixing.

"Can we bring an end to violence or racism by docking points or relegating a team? Or would such measures lead people to come to games to get the match abandoned," he said.

"We should do all we can but there's a danger that if we have matches replayed or if we punish clubs on the sporting front, it will open the door to hooligan groups who will come to deliberately cause trouble.

"There is so much emotion surrounding football."

Blatter's comments go against his stance back in January, when the 77-year-old said that slapping financial penalties on clubs or ordering them to play matches behind closed doors did not go far enough.

Instead, he said, teams should be hit with a points deduction or even face relegation.

Blatter's remarks at the time came after AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng and his team-mates walked off a pitch during a friendly match with fourth-division Italian side Pro Patria in protest at a solid hail of abuse from his club's rivals' fans.

After initially disagreeing with Boateng's decision to take the laws of the game into his own hands, Blatter swung behind the player and said tough action was needed and football should show the way because of its worldwide following.

Boateng was recently named a member of FIFA's anti-racism taskforce.

On Friday, Blatter also said that a proposal for uniform sanctions across all of FIFA's 209 member associations would be put to a vote at its congress in May.

"The same standard must apply for each and every league and national association," he said.

Source: AFP