FIFA to set up anti-racism Task Force

EDINBURGH Sat Mar 2, 2013 3:39am IST

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference in St. Petersburg January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk/Files

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference in St. Petersburg January 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk/Files

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - FIFA is establishing a task force to deal with racism in soccer, the president of the world governing body Sepp Blatter said on Friday.

Blatter, speaking to reporters in Edinburgh ahead of Saturday's International Board meeting, said the task force would be headed by Jeffrey Webb, president of the CONCACAF confederation of north and central American and Caribbean countries

Football has been blighted by a never-ending series of racist incidents from fans especially in eastern Europe, often met with derisory fines and punishments amounting to little more than a slap on the wrist.

However, this week European soccer's governing body UEFA finally took some stricter measures by ordering Italian club Lazio to play their next two European home matches behind closed doors because of repeated racism from supporters and fined the club 40,000 euros.

This season Lazio fans have been involved in anti-semitic incidents and racist gestures against Europa League opponets Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

"We have a Strategy Committee and we will make a task force and I have a chairman for this task force - he is Jeffrey Webb, the president of CONCACAF." Blatter said.

"It is a big, big problem also of education and understanding. We cannot do it alone, but we will do it because we have to kick it out of the game."

The FIFA president will also meet AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng this month to discuss ways of tackling racism in the game.

Boateng made worldwide headlines when he led his team mates off the pitch in protest after being racially abused by fans of fourth-division Italian club Pro Patria during a friendly in January.

After the incident Blatter praised him for taking a "strong and courageous stand" but added that leaving the field "cannot be the solution".

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage