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Blatter reiterates stance on racism

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27 Oct 2013 16:16:57

Blatter reiterates stance on racism

FIFA will have failed unless it effectively implements a zero tolerance approach to racism, according to president Sepp Blatter.

Racist abuse once again reared its ugly head this week, with Manchester City's Yaya Toure subjected to monkey chants in Wednesday's Champions League clash at CSKA Moscow.

It is not the first time such issues have blighted matches in Russia, which is in the midst of preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

Toure suggested black players may boycott the tournament unless the country tackles racism - something Blatter believes will achieve nothing.

The FIFA president instead has reiterated calls for tougher sanctions and, instead of fining teams and forcing them to play behind closed doors, wants clubs expelled from competitions or deducted points.

"It is a very serious issue," he said. "All that concerns racism, it is serious because there is zero tolerance.

"If we are not able in football to go zero tolerance, then we have failed.

"The congress has said we have to go [zero tolerance] and the congress was standing. There was not one voice against that.

"Everybody wanted to have it and now we have to apply it. They have to have the courage to do it."

Toure returns to action against Chelsea on Sunday - a match in which Jeffrey Webb, who leads FIFA's anti-discrimination task force, will be attending.

The FIFA vice-president has asked to speak to the City midfielder after the match in order to discuss the abuse in Moscow.

Asked if what Toure has to say to Webb matters to him, Blatter said: "Yes, sure, definitely.

"I can also understand the reaction he had by saying let's boycott and whatever.

"But a boycott will never solve a problem because the problem will still be there.

"You cannot run away from a problem because then it is not solved. When there is a problem, you have to stay there and solve it. Then it is okay."

Blatter suggested it would be "impossible" to strip a country like Russia of a tournament due to concerns over racism, but the world governing body is not ignoring the issue.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, who joined Blatter at the May Fair hotel in London, revealed he will be meeting with Alexey Sorokin, chief executive office of the 2018 World Cup, to discuss the matter in the next two days.

"The local organising committee and Alexey Sorokin are working because on one side there is sanctions, but in order to prevent it there is an education programme to have in place in Russia," he said.

"They are working on the programme together with the Russian authorities.

"It is definitely something we will discuss not as part of the board meeting agenda, but on a one-to-one meeting between Alexey Sorokin and myself."


PA

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