24 June 2009

South Africa: No Racism Allowed in Football - Blatter

Johannesburg — FIFA President Sepp Blatter has affirmed that the world football governing body would not tolerate any racial discrimination in the game of football, particularly during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Addressing media on Tuesday in Johannesburg, Mr Blatter said racism should not be allowed in the game and warned teams that FIFA would impose strong sanctions against those who breached the law.

Mr Blatter said teams responsible for an offence during the 2010 FIFA World Cup would have points deducted or even be eliminated from the competition.

"As FIFA, we are keen to intervene and fight racism in our game. If there's any evidence of racism, the red card is not enough, we will have to eliminate the team from the competition or deduct points," he said.

He said football was an educational sport, and that it was vital for South Africa to ensure that there were no racial conflicts during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"I also urge players to take responsibility and be the core in the fight against racism," he said, adding that teams must be responsible for their fans to guarantee that no racial remarks are articulated in the game of football.

Mr Blatter said he was impressed that no racial incidents were reported during the FIFA Confederations Cup, adding that South Africa has delivered a successful tournament thus far.

He said he was confident that the country would host the best world cup ever next year and that no racial incidents would be reported.

Meanwhile, FIFPRO, an international soccer player's federal union, is currently running a "Show Racism a Red Card" campaign across the globe which aims to eradicate racism in the game of football and in societies in general.

According to former Ghanaian soccer star Anthony Baffoe, it is important to raise the issue of racism as many European countries will be descending to Africa for the world's acclaimed sporting event.

He said when he played in European countries such as France, Germany and England, he became a victim of racism because of his skin colour.

Mr Baffoe said he was treated badly and was called names. "It hurts. We all are human beings and we should be treated the same," he said, adding that players and teams must take part in the initiatives against racism.

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